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The Disraeli Room is a hub for new ideas, commentary and analysis. ResPublica's blog is named after the great reforming Prime Minister of the nineteenth century, Benjamin Disraeli, and welcomes contributions from across the political, academic and professional spectrum.
After last week’s Autumn Budget Statement a number of news articles reported on the growing evidence that pensioners are actually fairly well-off these days. This is a bit of shock to someone my age (just turned 60): all my life I’ve been accustomed to viewing the elderly as generally impoverished and precariously vulnerable to the slings and arrows of financial fortune.
How should public borrowing evolve over the years to come? Ensuring the sustainability of public spending is essential to intergenerational fairness, since otherwise today’s young people will pay for the advantages enjoyed by current generations while receiving none of these opportunities themselves.
Pensions are inherently an intergenerational issue. To a greater or lesser extent, all the different types of pension scheme rely on one generation making a claim upon the productivity of the next one.
The 2015 General Election will be fascinating on many levels, not least because of the emergence of the UKIP vote. However, there are other factors that could affect the election result more profoundly, among them – most notably from an intergenerational point of view – voter age and cohort size.
The issues of intergenerational inequality and asset inequality are closely linked in Britain today. Yet despite the fact that inequality more generally is increasingly recognised as a problem, neither of these factors receives the recognition it should in public debate.
If there is just one character trait that pupils should leave school accomplished in, it should be that embodied by a one Mahatma Gandhi: “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Top marks then to Nicky Morgan who last week announced a string of new policies to stamp her mark on the education brief.
Margaret Thatcher famously said she wanted Britain to become a “property-owning democracy”, an aspiration that has been echoed ever since by politicians of every persuasion. However, the dream of home-ownership is rapidly turning into a nightmare for millions of young people across the country, who face a growing struggle just to find adequate housing at a price that they can afford.
I am a chief executive of a small housing association that has a modest development programme, and we take the view that good design of new developments is very important. I am aware that there is a big tension between good design and producing lower cost ‘boxes’.
The UK has started to wake up to a new dimension of social justice. For decades the focus of many campaigners has been on fairness to today’s poor and disadvantaged, but it is now becoming clear that our government is handing out benefits today at the expense of our children and grandchildren.
The Chancellor’s autumn statement shows how much scrutiny parliament places on how money is spent, with relatively small changes to budgets generating either applause or outrage. But parliament has a habit of completely overlooking more fundamental questions about money, questions such as: who should be allowed to create it in the first place?
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