4th September 2019

The House of Lords Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision has called on the government to take steps to make society fairer by supporting younger people, particularly in the employment market and the provision of housing.

A change of perspective needed

Peers believe that ‘outdated’ age-specific benefits for older people should be replaced with support for the young to ‘deliver a fairer society’.

The Committee – made up of Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and crossbench peers – issued a raft of recommendations, both to ‘retain the supportive relationship between generations’ and to plan for the ‘100-year life’ that younger people can expect to become the norm.

The Committee said intergenerational unfairness was being ‘exacerbated’ by an ageing population, the 2008 global financial crisis and successive government policies that have failed to consider the issues. According to its report1, many pensioner households are now better off than their working-age counterparts, both in terms of the income they have after deducting housing costs and overall household wealth.

Commenting on the proposals put forward by the Committee, its Chairman, Lord True said that the connections between the generations could be undermined if the government didn’t get to grips with the key issues of housing, secure employment and fairness in tax and benefits.

Tax and spending

The Committee’s recommendations covered a range of topics, including tax and spending. Some of the proposals include:

  • Remove the State Pension triple lock, and instead uprate the State Pension in line with average earnings
  • Free bus passes and the Winter Fuel Payment should only be made available five years after the recipient becomes eligible for the State Pension
  • Better-off workers over the State Pension age should pay National Insurance Contributions while they work.

1Select Committee on Intergenerational Fairness & Provision, April 2019