Policy must be rebalanced in favour of the young, say Lords Committee
25 April 2019
The House of Lords Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision has today called on the Government to take steps to deliver a fairer society by supporting younger people in the housing and employment market, and deliver better in-work training and lifelong learning to prepare the country for the coming 100-year lifespan.
The Chair of the Committee, Lord True, said:
"We found that intergenerational bonds are still strong, and the evidence suggested both young and older people recognise the contribution the other makes and the challenges they face. However, there is a risk that those connections could be undermined if the Government does not get a grip on key issues such as access to housing, secure employment and fairness in tax and benefits."
The Committee sets out a range of recommendations across different policy areas to tackle the challenge of retaining the supportive relationship between generations and take a more long-term policy approach.
Tax and spending
- Remove the triple lock for State Pensions and instead uprate the State Pension in line with average earnings.
- Phase out free TV licences based on age. The Government should then decide if it wants to subsidise TV licences based on household income.
- Free bus passes and Winter Fuel Payment should only be available five years after a person becomes eligible for the State Pension.
- Better off workers over the State Pension age should pay National Insurance while they continue to work.
- Grant local authorities a presumption to develop unused land owned by public sector bodies and give them greater freedom to borrow to build.
- Ensure local authorities have specific planning policies to meet the housing needs of younger and older people.
- Government reforms to the rented sector do not do enough to provide tenants with long term secure tenancies. They should be backed up by a new regulatory framework.
Training and employment
- Substantially increase funding for Further Education and vocational training to tackle unfairness between those to go onto Higher Education and those who do not.
- There should be an assumption of the employment status of ‘worker’ by default to protect young people from exploitation or insecurity in the gig economy, while allowing those who wish to stay as self-employed to do so.
- Increase lifelong learning and training. In the context of a 100-year life, continuous training and retraining will become more important. Older people need to be equipped and supported to respond to a changing labour market.
Assessing intergenerational impact of policies
- The Government should introduce new fiscal rule that addresses the whole Government balance sheet as well as the current deficit.
- The Office of National Statistics should introduce a generational breakdown of the Effects of Tax and Benefits on Household income dataset.
- The Treasury should publish a breakdown of the effects of each budget by generation and Government should create Intergenerational Impact Assessments for all draft legislation.
- Policies should promote all age communities as drivers of intergenerational fairness. Local authorities should share intergenerational best practice and local and central government should focus on facilitating community activity and ensure long term sources of funding are available.
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