“As another Lords Committee highlights the failure of successive governments to respond to the policy challenges of ageing, it’s hard not to feel like we’ve been here before.
But the Committee are absolutely right that to be fit for an ageing society we need a public policy response that looks right across the life course.
The Committee are right to not mince their words. Younger people today are finding it difficult to get onto the housing market and policymakers have failed to address the lack of homes.
Our approach to public policy at the moment risks pitching younger against older people and inadvertently and unhelpfully undermining the intergenerational contract. Today’s young are tomorrow’s older people.
We need a more fundamental review of how a modern welfare state can be adapted to our ageing society.
Investing in housing is an investment for all ages. We need homes that are affordable and that help people live well right across their lives – that means accessible and adaptable mainstream housing as well as retirement housing.
Investment in lifelong learning is an investment in UK PLC with productivity likely to benefit from ensuring both younger and older people have access to learning throughout their lives.
The Government could actually go further than the committee proposes. The National Insurance exemption for older workers seems an anachronism. And savings could be better invested in any number of other initiatives – including in addressing the gross underfunding of public health and social care.
Pensioner benefits are a matter of increasing political debate. While there is a strong case for universal pensioner benefits, it is also perfectly reasonable that these benefits should be taxed, so that those who can afford to pay do.”