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Economy Economy

Restore the contract between the generations

Last updated: 03:04pm 22 November 2019

We will restore the contract between the generations, providing older people with security against ill health while ensuring we maintain the promise of opportunity and prosperity for younger generations.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.63

Our verdict

In its 2018 report titled A New Generational Contract, the Intergenerational Commission, convened by an independent think tank, defines the intergenerational contract as:

“the principle that different generations provide support to each other across the different stages of their lives”

It is based on mutual respect and care for each other across the divisions of age. The report goes on to say:

“That contract is under threat, with widespread concern that young adults may not achieve the progress their predecessors enjoyed”

This policy is a promise to address that concern, and to “restore the contract between the generations”. It aims to do so by providing security against ill health for the elderly, and offering opportunities and prosperity for the young.

Many of the government’s health policies can be said to contribute towards the aim of security against ill health for the elderly, but some are specifically targeted:

Likewise, many policies relating to education, to jobs, and to the economy are aimed at offering opportunities and prosperity for the young.

We’ve looked at all the policies individually and they have a range of statuses.

Assessing the impact of government policies on generational attitudes is essentially an impossible task – no one could ever confidently say this policy is either ‘broken’ or ‘done’. We’ve put links below to opinion pieces and surveys so you can reach your own conclusion on whether the generational divide is growing or shrinking.

For us, there’s evidence that some policies are aimed at restoring the intergenerational contract, but other developments under this administration (most notably the ongoing Brexit saga) can be viewed as hindering that restoration. Work may have begun to keep this promise, but there’s a long way to go. As a result, we will consider this is ‘in progress’.

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