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Published on October 21st, 2011 | by Ed Jones
Image © [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="322" caption="The baby boomers need to downsize to help their children"][/caption] Young people don’t get the hearing they deserve and this needs to change if the futures of young people are to be protected by policy-makers. Take tuesday's BBC Breakfast discussion of proposals for tax breaks for over 60s downsizing their homes. 37% of UK homes are not fully-occupied, while a shortage of supply and sky-high property prices stops many young people getting onto the housing ladder. This idea potentially empowers not only young people (improving access to the market and, particularly, family homes) but also older people (who will be financially rewarded if they chose to downsize). This point was missed by the Gransnet spokesperson, who portrayed this tax break as an attack on older people. I’m instinctively wary of governments getting involved and tinkering with markets. But my broader concern is how so many topical issues are framed by the interests of older generations, marginalising the views of young people. The baby-boomers (now turning sixty) are the biggest, richest generation Britain has ever known. In many ways they have thrived at the expense of their children - who will pay more tax, work longer hours for less money, with lower social mobility, in order to pay for their parents' quality of life. So is it too much to ask for the younger generation to have an equal voice in the debates? At the very least, the likes of the well-meaning Gransnet should acknowledge these massive social consequences. Somewhere along the line, we need this generation to make some sacrifices. Unfortunately, there remain more votes to be had among grey-haired property owners - a more organised and more powerful voice. This means a real danger that the action needed to protect the futures of young people (whether it be on the housing market, cutting the national debt, pensions reform, or adult social care funding) won’t be taken.

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The self-preservation generation?

The baby boomers need to downsize to help their children

Young people don’t get the hearing they deserve and this needs to change if the futures of young people are to be protected by policy-makers. Take tuesday’s BBC Breakfast discussion of proposals for tax breaks for over 60s downsizing their homes.

37% of UK homes are not fully-occupied, while a shortage of supply and sky-high property prices stops many young people getting onto the housing ladder. This idea potentially empowers not only young people (improving access to the market and, particularly, family homes) but also older people (who will be financially rewarded if they chose to downsize). This point was missed by the Gransnet spokesperson, who portrayed this tax break as an attack on older people.

I’m instinctively wary of governments getting involved and tinkering with markets. But my broader concern is how so many topical issues are framed by the interests of older generations, marginalising the views of young people. The baby-boomers (now turning sixty) are the biggest, richest generation Britain has ever known. In many ways they have thrived at the expense of their children - who will pay more tax, work longer hours for less money, with lower social mobility, in order to pay for their parents’ quality of life. So is it too much to ask for the younger generation to have an equal voice in the debates?

At the very least, the likes of the well-meaning Gransnet should acknowledge these massive social consequences. Somewhere along the line, we need this generation to make some sacrifices. Unfortunately, there remain more votes to be had among grey-haired property owners – a more organised and more powerful voice. This means a real danger that the action needed to protect the futures of young people (whether it be on the housing market, cutting the national debt, pensions reform, or adult social care funding) won’t be taken.

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