Don’t play generations off against each other - Age UK manager warns

Pensioners incomes are higher than workers for the first time Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Pensioners incomes are higher than workers for the first time Jonathan Brady/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Generations must not be played off against each other, a manager at Age UK Norfolk has warned after a new report found pensioners' incomes were exceeding those of workers for the first time.

Linda Mathews, the information and advice manger at the charity's Norfolk branch, said many pensioners were volunteering, providing unpaid care and looking after grandchildren. She also pointed out that better off pensioners were now having to fund their own social care - something they may not have taken account of when they were saving for retirement.

The Resolution Foundation think tank study As Time Goes By study, which charts income changes across different generations during the past half century, found that after housing costs typical pensioner households were now £20 a week better off than typical working age ones.

Aiden Watts, assistant director at Brewin Dophin's East Anglia office, said he thought pensioner incomes were likely to outstrip working age incomes for a while. He suggested the shift was down to a number of factors, including house price growth, particularly in the south-east of England, and the continuance of final salary pension schemes – a perk which will almost certainly not be available to people under a certain age.

There has been a growing call for the so-called triple-lock - which guarantees that state pensions rise by the same as average earnings, the consumer price index, or 2.5%, whichever is the highest - to be abolished. A suggestion dismissed by the government.


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While Norwich South Labour MP Clive Lewis warned one in seven pensioners were still living in poverty, but acknowledged there was a growing inter-generational inequality. He said pensioners did not want their children and grandchildren to have worse lives than them - but it was wrong to think the solution was to 'set kids and grandkids against granny and grandpa'.

'The solution isn't to drag pensioners down with them. It's to make sure that people in employment get their fair share of the pie. As an absolute minimum we have to end poverty pay by ensuring everyone gets the real living wage - not just the sham version offered by this government.'

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