Action on intergenerational working

Our society faces battles on every front: millions are struggling with the choice between heating and eating; our health and care services are in crisis; an epidemic quietly continues to impact our lives. And, if all that weren’t enough, there is a pervasive and corrosive narrative that suggests the older generation are a drain on society and are being supported by younger people.

It hasn’t helped that house prices have become unaffordable for a huge swathe of younger people, or that many younger people made huge sacrifices to protect the vulnerable from the first ravages of the pandemic.

Our concern, as a collective of organisations which have long campaigned for a fairer and more equal society, is that this narrative of “young vs old” is being promulgated to distract us from the real issues which affect all generations: the underfunding of public services; too few houses being built; an unfair and regressive tax regime that hits lower paid people hardest; inflation rates that impact all generations; an underinvestment in sustainable energy; low pay and insecure employment; and an inadequate State Pension that will eventually inflict hardship on today’s younger generation.  

Our belief is that a better understanding of the realities of ageing will lead to better policies and decision making, and hence to better outcomes for the quality of life and well-being of older people.  

The research carried out by the English Ageing Network and the South East Forum on Ageing in 2019 (click the link below for the PDF) suggested that younger people themselves may not necessarily buy into the notion of intergenerational unfairness. The value of that research has been to demonstrate that seeking the views of older and younger people is a first step in establishing whether there is common ground between the generations and whether there is an appetite for an approach that unites the generations.

Moreover, today’s younger people are tomorrow’s older people. If younger people are able to think about what they want their future to look like, it might help to build a better present for today’s older people. If common ground rather than conflict exists, then the door is open for dialogue and interaction both of which are likely to produce greater mutual understanding and tolerance – the key to eliminating discrimination and prejudice.

Get involved

To contribute towards the AAA’s Intergenerational Working policy plans or to see your blogs, papers, research or news on these pages, email:

Click here for: A new narrative on ageing: intergenerational unfairness

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