We have made huge progress in tackling pensioner poverty over recent decades. It is a major public policy success.
As our society ages we need to adapt our welfare state to ensure its sustainability and long term survival. But whilst it is right to debate cuts to pensioner benefits, we must take care not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Within the next decade we are likely to see average pensioner income start to fall. We must ensure that public policy protects the income of tomorrows poorest pensioners, particularly those who won’t have any private savings at all.
This debate cannot be about young versus old. Younger people are tomorrows pensioners. They can look forward to a long and increasingly healthy old age. Younger people will need the support of a welfare state and many will rely on it. Younger people need decent, well paid jobs which help them save for old age.
Government and businesses must focus on ensuring our economy can better support an increasingly older consumer and worker. We must improve workforce productivity and create meaningful employment for all ages. There is a very strong case to invest in education for young and old alike.
Increasing the number of new homes being built will benefit young and old. Government must prioritise housing investment to ensure that older people have places to move to and younger people can get onto the housing ladder.