From the outset our Campaign has supported the Generations United initiative. The following letter appeared in the Guardian this last Sunday.
At a time of economic crisis, there is often a tendency to look for someone to blame. This time a number of politicians, think-tanks and elements in the media have started to point the finger at pensioners by suggesting that they have escaped the austerity measures at the expense of younger generations. Not only is this factually incorrect, it is extremely divisive.
Young and old in fact share a number of concerns: from the lack of suitable housing and inadequate public transport in rural areas to the raising of retirement ages, which will mean everyone has to wait to receive their pensions, and rising youth unemployment, which could blight all our economic prospects for years in the future. What this artificial generational conflict tries to hide is the real division in our society between rich and poor. The latest Wealth and Assets survey shows that the top 10% of Britons are now 500 times wealthier than the bottom 10%, and poverty among both young people and pensioners stands at 20%.
The Generations United campaign being launched today will seek to show that the cohesion of our society rests on valuing all ages, recognising the different contributions they can make, and championing a welfare state that continues to provide support from the cradle to the grave.
Dot Gibson General secretary, National Pensioners Convention, Liam Burns President, National Union of Students, Frances O’Grady General secretary, Trades Union Congress, Christine Blower General secretary, National Union of Teachers, Sally Hunt General secretary, University and College Union, Owen Jones Author, Will Cass Youth Chair, Compass, Kelvin Hopkins MP