A think piece on intergenerational equity Executive summary Who we

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A think piece on intergenerational equity Executive summary Who we Powered By Docstoc
					What is Just Ageing?
The Equality and Human Rights Commission, and the new merged charity
Age Concern and Help the Aged, have joined forces to investigate and develop
an understanding of equality over the life course and to identify solutions to                      A think piece on
inequalities in later life.
                                                                                                    intergenerational equity
To find out more about the Just Ageing? programme and receive details of future
events, please email justageing@equalityhumanrights.com. You can also visit our                     Executive summary
website to find out more at www.equalityhumanrights.com/justageing

Who we are
The Equality and Human Rights             Age Concern and Help the Aged
Commission is working to eliminate        have joined together to form Age UK,
discrimination, reduce inequality,        a single charity dedicated to improving
protect human rights and ensure           the lives of older people. We are a new
that everyone has a fair chance to        charity with a clear vision: a world in
participate in society.                   which older people flourish. We work
                                          with a range of partners to ensure that
Find out more about the Equality
                                          together we can improve the lives of
and Human Rights Commission
                                          older people.
via our website at:
www.equalityhumanrights.com               To find out more about Age Concern and
or by contacting one of our helplines.    Help the Aged visit our website at:
                                          www.ageconcern.org.uk
England helpline: 0845 604 6610
                                          or e-mail us at:
Textphone: 0845 604 6620
                                          info@ace.org.uk
Scotland helpline: 0845 604 5510          or call us on:
Textphone: 0845 604 5520                  020 8765 7200
Wales helpline: 0845 604 8810
Textphone: 0845 604 8820
Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm

                                          Age Concern England (charity number 261794) has
                                          merged with Help the Aged (charity number 272786) to
                                          form Age UK, a charitable company limited by guarantee
                                          and registered in England: registered office address
                                          207–221 Pentonville Road, London, N1 9UZ, company
                                          number 6825798, registered charity number 1128267.
                                          Age Concern and Help the Aged are brands of
                                          Age UK. The three national Age Concerns in Scotland,
                                          Northern Ireland and Wales have also merged with
                                          Help the Aged in these nations to form three registered
                                          charities: Age Scotland, Age NI, Age Cymru.
    Executive summary                                                           Main findingsx
    The Equality and Human Rights Commission (the Commission) is working        Concepts and approaches to                      The term ‘generation’ is not clear-cut but
    in partnership with Age Concern and Help the Aged on a programme of         intergenerational equity                        broadly signifies cohorts succeeding each
    seminars and research called ‘Just Ageing?’. The purpose of the programme   Many different concepts of IGE have been        other over time. Aspects of social justice
    is to investigate and develop understanding of the dynamics of inequality   used and lead to much confusion. It is          and equity are about relations between the
    over the life course.                                                       important to distinguish between:               generations. Inequalities within generations
                                                                                                                                are greater than those between generations.
                                                                                Equity between different contemporary
    The commissioning of this think piece reflected the partners’ keenness
                                                                                (that is living) generations, which includes:
    to explore the concept of intergenerational equity in more detail.                                                          It is essential to consider the experiences
                                                                                n Equal respect for different generations
    ‘Intergenerational equity’ (IGE) is a term used in many ways for many                                                       of different generations, not merely as
                                                                                n Equal opportunities for different
    purposes. The report sets out different concepts of IGE that have                                                           they stand now but over their life course,
                                                                                  generations
    been used, reviews the historical uses of these concepts, examines                                                          which provides a changing backdrop as
                                                                                n Comparative living standards of
    intergenerational relationships at the level of the household and the                                                       the economy and society change.
                                                                                  different generations
    relation between paid and unpaid work, discusses issues that arise in
    thinking about IGE and finally draws conclusions for the work of the        Private transfers between generations,          There are three simple models of society: a
    Commission and Age Concern and Help the Aged.                               which includes:                                 private, family-based model; a state model;
                                                                                n Burdens of caring for young and older         and a mixed model. Intergenerational equity
                                                                                  people                                        has a different significance depending on
                                                                                n Variations in private care and support        the model of the role of the state in society.
                                                                                  that affects life chances                     British society is most similar to a mixed
                                                                                n Private financial transfers between           model, which indicates the importance of
                                                                                  generations                                   both private and public behaviour for IGE.
                                                                                n Levels of savings and debt incurred for,
                                                                                  and inheritance to, other generations         How far outcomes for different
                                                                                                                                generations have been collectively willed
                                                                                Public transfers between generations,
                                                                                                                                or are the result of many interacting,
                                                                                which includes:
                                                                                                                                undirected influences is important for the
                                                                                n The burden of debt inherited by               question of what, if anything, should be
                                                                                  younger generations                           done about IGE. It is highly improbable
                                                                                n The burden of taxes and pension
                                                                                                                                that one generation is able to manipulate
                                                                                  contributions borne or to be borne by         resources in such a way that they benefit
                                                                                  different generations                         to the detriment of others. Even if
    A think piece on integenerational equity                                    Equity between contemporary                     collective agency of a generation was
    by David Piachaud, John Macnicol and Jane Lewis                             generations and future generations, as          proved, remedial action or ‘corrective
    Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics                     yet unborn, which includes:                     justice’ would be highly unjust and likely
                                                                                n Future generations and the state of           to remove resources from those who are
    A full copy of the report ‘A think piece on integenerational equity’          our planet                                    most in need.
    is available to download in Word and PDF formats on our website at:         n Comparative burdens on present and
    www.equalityhumanrights.com/justageing                                        future populations.

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    History of the debate on                       Changes with implications for IGE            Intergenerational equity at the               There is a tension between increasing
    intergenerational equity                       Due to the limited evidence that is          household level                               ‘individualisation’ and self-sufficiency
    The modern debate on IGE originated in         available and the complexity of the          The activities, responsibilities and          on the one hand, and continuing
    the 1980s in the United States of America      interactions involved it is very hard to     supportive relationships that exist in        dependence, interdependence and need
    and arose from concerns that the social        generalise about any one generation,         households and between members of             for support between generations on
    security pension there was unaffordable,       let alone the equity of the relative         the immediate family and the wider kin        the other. Strengthening the position
    given a future ageing population.              circumstances of different generations.      group are complicated. There are many         of carers in the labour market and
                                                   Upward trends in the age-structure of the    different types of households including       recognising their unpaid labour when
    The reasons behind the evolution of            population, lower fertility, a projected     ‘blended families’ containing step-           they leave is crucial. This is the role of
    social policies for older age between the      increase in the old-age dependency           parents and step-children, and same-sex       the state, and policy development is
    late nineteenth century and the 1990s          ratio, fewer extended families and more      relationships. Little is known about the      complicated.
    were complex, and do not fit easily with       disability-free life after age 65 all have   impact of these household types upon
    a simplistic ‘intergenerational conflict’      implications for IGE.                        intergenerational transfers and support       While cash payments in respect of
    explanation. There is no convincing                                                         whether emotional, financial or practical.    carework are simplest and seem
    evidence of a ‘selfish’ welfare generation     Since 1979 pensioner incomes have risen                                                    to fit easily with the concepts of
    monopolising resources in its own interests.   relative to average earnings. In that year   Each individual is increasingly expected      individualisation, choice and control,
                                                   pensioners were twice as likely to be in     to provide as much as possible for him        they are not enough. Sustainable, high
    Post-war policies, especially those from       poor households as were children but, in     or herself and to be active in the labour     quality child and elder care is difficult to
    the 1970s, tended to discriminate against      contrast, child poverty is now higher than   market for as long as possible. It is still   achieve, particularly in poor areas, using
    older people and in favour of young            it was in 1979.                              expected that women will do the bulk          the private sector. Many elderly people,
    job-seekers. This began to be reversed                                                      of unpaid carework and that the               particularly with the rapid increase in
    from 1994 with rising employment rates,        Wide inequalities exist within all           ‘middle generation’ will provide unpaid       dementia, will need professional help and
    although the current economic recession        generations. There are many factors          carework for the young and older              the provision of services.
    could have an impact on this.                  which influence this including social        people, while the unpaid carework
                                                   class, gender and ethnicity. Little          carried out by older people is also vital     It is important for policy to pay
                                                   research has been carried out on many of     but rarely acknowledged.                      attention to unpaid carework as well as
                                                   these differences.                                                                         employment, and to address the flows of
                                                                                                                                              money and time between generations.
                                                                                                                                              This is especially so if gender equality is
                                                                                                                                              to be promoted and the widening gap in
                                                                                                                                              wealth and income is to be addressed.
                                                                                                                                              But care policies developed for one
                                                                                                                                              group are not necessarily applicable
                                                                                                                                              to another, and need to be set within
                                                                                                                                              a wider context than just the nuclear
                                                                                                                                              family or the household.




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    Review of issuesx                                                                          Key issues for the futurex
    Four key issues when assessing IGE           n Fiscal fairness between generations         IGE has been used in many ways and            those cared for, promote gender equality
    were reviewed in more detail                 Concern about fiscal fairness between         raises many issues. To attempt to             and intergenerational equity. In so doing,
                                                 generations often revolves around             embrace all concepts of IGE would result      the intergenerational exchanges of caring
    n  Intragenerational and                     pensions; what different generations          in confusion and ineffectiveness. This        that bind society, whether out of love
    intergenerational inequality in care         have paid in and what they take out.          study suggests three areas that could         or a sense of obligation, would become
    A number of factors impact upon care         But the issue goes far beyond pension         warrant further work and action from          more transparent and equitable and
    relations both between and within            schemes. One way of looking at this is        the Commission.                               more a matter of concern to the whole of
    generations. These include cultural          through generational accounting, which                                                      society rather than a private lottery.
    attitudes and the highly varied standards    attempts to measure the amount current        n  Respect and equal treatment for
    of care that can be found in care homes      and future generations can be expected        different generations                         n  Sustainable development and equality
    and rate of life expectancy across the       to pay over time in net taxes, under          Explore the dimensions of respect and         It is now clear that our legacy to future
    country, whereby inequalities within the     existing public policies. But it takes a      what people, as opposed to Government,        generations will depend critically on the
    working age population are perpetuated       narrow view by concentrating on financial     regard as the rights appropriate to           state of the planet that is passed on. The
    in older age.                                contributions and receipts by a particular    different stages of life. This is a           urgency of addressing global warming
                                                 generation rather than interpreting           challenging but important agenda.             means that behaviour must be changed
    Any comprehensive assessment of              contributions more broadly. Similarly,                                                      rapidly. Thus far, little consideration
    inequality between generations needs to      focusing on Government debt does not          n  Inequality between generations             has been given to how the choices over
    take account of care burdens. However,       take into account broader societal issues.    Develop a more sophisticated approach         strategies to achieve this affect equality.
    the research necessary to reach reliable                                                   to equity that takes account not only         This is a pressing and appropriate priority
    and meaningful conclusions about the         It can be argued that approaches that         of differences in income but also of          in which the Commission could play a role.
    equity of differences in the circumstances   single out favoured generations or point      burdens of paid and unpaid work,
    of different generations is lacking.         to the unaffordability of pensions are        recognising the costs of caring, which fall
                                                 partial and individualised. They ignore       disproportionately on women. This can
    n  Pension arrangements and their            the positive externalities of increased       enhance the rights of both carers and
    consequences for IGE                         output, economic growth and a general
    Different pension arrangements have          advancement of resources, that can
    different consequences for IGE. There        afford opportunities to all generations.
    are three main types of pension system: a
    fully-funded, actuarially sound model; a     n  Future generations
    contributory pay-as-you-go model; and a      A rights-based approach to natural capital
    tax-funded pension based on citizenship.     and the environment is also important.
    The former, minimising the role of the       Distributive justice is generally discussed
    state, has attracted most support from       on a national basis, but issues such as
    those concerned with intergenerational       climate change impact beyond country
    equity; yet the indications are that it      boundaries and the lives of one nation
    would lead to the greatest inequity.         are strongly affected by the behaviour of
                                                 other nations. Thus consideration of IGE
                                                 is, at least in part, a global issue.

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