Have baby-boomers had it too good, for too long?

Young and old

An inquiry into ‘intergenerational fairness’ has been launched by the Work and Pensions Committee to establish whether the generation of people in or approaching retirement is getting a better deal than younger generations.

The committee wants to find out whether older people have, over their lifetimes, built up more wealth, enjoyed better welfare and pension benefits and had greater public service usage than younger generations can ever hope to expect.

According to the cross-party group of MPs, people born between 1951 and 1961 – the middle of the so-called baby-boomer generation – are expected to receive 118% of what they have contributed to the welfare state. However, younger generations are anticipated to have less wealth at each stage in their lives than the generations that came before them.

Furthermore, ONS data shows that since the financial crisis in 2008, the average retired household income has increased by £1,800 a year while working households have seen their incomes fall by £800.

The inquiry will investigate whether disparities in intergenerational wealth are the result of government policy – for example the triple lock, which safeguards pensioner incomes, or the result of broader economic and demographic trends. It will also assess whether action can be taken to tackle any unfairness.

Announcing the launch, Rt Hon Frank Field, MP and Chair of the Committee said: “Voters 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 those below retirement age. Is it fair and affordable to divert a large and growing sum of public expenditure towards pensioners – regardless of their circumstances – while poor families with children face year on year restrictions on their income?”

Carlton Hood, customer director at Old Mutual Wealth said that while this is a vital issue for the government to address, it will not be an easy one to tackle. “In 2035 the first generation of consumers will retire that are less well off than their predecessors. It is easy to see why younger people, particularly those struggling to get on the housing ladder, will feel they have been dealt a poor hand. While it is a worthy debate, politicians have only limited power to address these issues. We are entering an era of personal responsibility with less reliance on State support,” he said.


Your Comments

There are a couple of points that this committee need to consider before reaching their conclusion. Firstly, the vast majority of so called "Baby Boomers" have worked all their lives and have contributed to the Welfare State through Income Tax and National Insurance contributions. Unemployment in younger people today is much higher than in the Baby Boomers' working time and many young people today receive disablement and unemployment benefit.
Secondly many Baby Boomers are now grandparents and a lot provide childcare so their own children can go to work. This benefit is undeterminable but does save the government and local authorities the cost of providing day nurseries. If the true cost could be determined it would run into £millions. Finally, hundreds, perhaps thousands of  "Baby Boomers" are also volunteers, providing unpaid services in many areas.

Since 1945 It seems to me that succesive governments have made decisions to try and keep in power by buying the public - the inefficient NHS which takes the largest slice of the cake and still can't get the sums right started it off - now I'm NOT saying we should not have the NHS what I do say is that the Government takes taxes and then should supervise the best use of this (our!) money. The fact is that Governments cannot run anything efficiently but try and tell us that they are the only solution - MP's most of whom have never done anything out side the public sector!
So when it comes to have the "baby boomers"  got it easy I say we have only reacted to the various incompetant people who rule us and who are trying to blame us for the situation they find themselves. I remember 15% inflation - did we get help no Ok soe people got University education Free - except that to get to university was the exception not the norm as it it today!
We have pensions - try living on a state pension - almost impossible. Many of us saved our own money to provide for our retirement - so must the generations behind us. We had to scrimp and scrape to get where we are today and no I didn't have help from my family I had to work it out for myself.
The government cannot and should not be the relied upon to bail people out - this sense of entitlement that everyone now seems to have encouraged by government so they have total power over people (Read - if you can read - 1984 by Orwell) is out dated and dangerous. what is needed is a bit more backbone and less green eyed monster

Well, I don't slot into those year groups, but if baby boomers are getting 118% of their investment back, it seems a pretty low rate of interest.   18 % total gain over what, say 50 years or so is not very much at all.    They worked hard for a lot of years, and how could anyone not see it fit that they get at least this sort of return.
Consider newer generations.   Many will not have worked a full lifetime, they will have had many a benefit payment that few baby boomers will have had,  they will live even longer than those born in the fifties, and so will get even more back.  So how have the baby boomers done so well that they are now being criticized?   

I tend to agree with Glycine. The weak, incompetent politicians of today have only themselves to blame for the mess the country is in. Instead of blaming themselves they will blame someone else. In this case the "Baby Boomers."
It's the politicians who are bleeding the country dry with their high salaries, perks and moonlighting, not the Baby Boomers