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The House of Lords is scheduled to debate the following motion on Thursday 26 October 2017:

Baroness Smith of Newnham to move that this House take note of the need for intergenerational fairness to form a core part of government policy across all departments.

The issue of intergenerational fairness has risen up the agenda in recent years, and various bodies, including the House of Commons Work and Pensions Committee and the Social Mobility Commission, have considered the issue and published reports in recent months which have examined the issue of intergenerational fairness. It is in this context that this briefing provides background information on issues that have featured prominently in the debate on intergenerational fairness and the intergenerational distribution of wealth. This is a wide-ranging area, and thus this briefing does not seek to examine every potential issue relating to this multi-faceted debate. Rather, it focuses on those which have been particularly prominent themes in the debate, including employment and earnings; pensions and pensioner benefits; and housing, including housing supply and affordability and tenure. The briefing also considers calls for the issue of intergenerational fairness to inform government policy making across the board.

In particular, the briefing cites the following estimates:

  • The share of the population aged 65 and over is projected to grow from 18 percent in 2014 to 24 percent in 2039;
  • By 2020–21, many millennial households will have reached their mid-30s and yet might still be no better off than members of Generation X were at the same age;
  • In the last ten years, the number of under-25-year-old homeowners has more than halved;
  • Pensioner households now have incomes that are £20 a week higher than those of working age households.

This Library briefing should be interpreted as an introduction to the debate, rather than a comprehensive summary of relevant issues. To that end, suggestions for further reading are made in the final section.


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