Are baby boomers the Dick Turpin generation? Michael Buerk hosts combative, provocative and engaging debate with Anne McElvoy, Giles Fraser, Matthew Taylor and Melanie Phillips.
They've been called the Dick Turpin generation - but time could be up for the Baby Boomers this week as the Chancellor announces spending cuts of £11.5 billion in the Spending Review. With budgets so tight previously sacrosanct universal benefits, like free bus passes and winter fuel payments for rich pensioners start to look tempting targets. But for some this is more than just an argument about balancing the books - it's about inter-generational equity. Instead of being custodians of future generations the Baby Boomers are accused of busily raiding their kids' piggy-banks - saddling them with a vast and increasing national debt to fund for their own generous pensions and welfare payouts. That, combined with universal free healthcare, free education to degree level and steadily rising house values have made the post-war generation healthier and wealthier than any before. And now they're accused of pulling up the ladder behind them. Following generations if they want to go to university will leave with a massive debt hanging over them, 1 in 5 16 to 24 year olds are unemployed, housing is now so expensive the average first time buyer is 35 years old, they'll have to work longer before they get a pension and when they do it will be pitifully small compared to the those of their parents. Is this just a sad fact of the recession or is a greater moral crime being committed here - "generational theft"? Can you really blame the post-war generation for the luck of having lived through a period of unprecedented peace and prosperity and then claiming what is their right and what they've already paid for through their taxes? And the silver pound adds billions to the economy through spending, property and savings. Or have the baby boomers become uniquely blind to their own selfishness while they steal the future from underneath the noses of their own children? Or do the young only have themselves to blame because they don't vote and the older generation does? The morality of inter-generational equity.
Combative, provocative and engaging debate chaired by Michael Buerk. With Anne McElvoy, Giles Fraser, Matthew Taylor and Melanie Phillips. Witnesses: Ros Altmann - Former Director-General of Saga, Angus Hanton - co-founder of the Intergenerational Foundation, Ed Howker - co-author of "Jilted Generation: how Britain has bankrupted its youth", Stuart Prebble - producer of 'Grumpy Old Men' TV series and books.