MPs launch ‘intergenerational fairness’ inquiry

18 Jan 16

A committee of MPs have launched an inquiry into ‘intergenerational fairness’ in order to consider concerns that older baby boomers are accumulating wealth at the expense of younger generations.

The work and pensions committee’s review will assess trends and the sustainability of the intergenerational distribution of income, wealth and public expenditure.

It will also look at the impact of recent development in policy and take a view on the long-term viability of policies such as the ‘triple lock’ increase on state pensions.

Committee chair Frank Field said: “Votes have two priorities for welfare reform” ‘is it fair’ and ‘is it affordable’.

“Politicians of successive governments have ducked both of these fundamental questions when it comes to the different levels of income afforded to those above and others below retirement age.

“Is it fair and affordable to divert a large and growing sum of public expenditure toward pensioners – regardless of their circumstances – while mainly poor families with children face year-on-year restrictions on their income?”

Fellow committee member Richard Graham, who also chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group on pensions added: “At a time when there is significant pressure on public spending, people are living longer, pensions are starting later and care costs rising there will also always be issued about relative fairness between generation.

“How has public spending between generations altered over the years and what are the implications? The committee will look at these issues.”

Specific questions the committee will consider include whether the triple lock mechanism for state pensions is necessary to prevent future increases in pensioner poverty, and how Winter Fuel Payments might be reformed.

The committee has invited interested parties to send in written submissions by 19 February.

  • Vivienne Russell

    Vivienne Russell is managing editor of Public Finance magazine and publicfinance.co.uk

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