Fact Sheet: Intergenerational Overview

Thomas Jefferson: ‘I sincerely believe… that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity under the name of funding is but swindling futurity on a large scale.’ Letter to John Taylor, 1816

Edmund Burke wrote about the idea of the State in 1789: ‘It becomes a partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.’



The Family:


  • Of a £100 billion NHS budget, 50% already goes on the over-65’s.
  • Caring for Britain’s elderly population could cost up to £106bn a year. This is the equivalent to paying for a second NHS. Policy Exchange, 2010, http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/jul/27/elderly-care-cost-policy-exchange
  • “The current generation of pensioners and those now approaching state pension age are much better off, in terms of both income and wealth, than their predecessors – and will be among the particular beneficiaries of the recommendations.The commission therefore believes it is right for them to make a contribution towards the additional costs and proposes that:
    – free TV licences for the over-75s and Winter Fuel Payments should be restricted to the
    least affluent pensioners
    – the existing complete exemption from National Insurance for those who work past state pension age should end (with payment of National Insurance at a lower rate)
    – those aged between 40 and 65 should pay an additional 1 per cent in National Insurance, introduced to match the phasing in of the settlement.”, Commission on The Future of Health and Social Care, 2014, http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/files/kf/field/field_document/Commission%20on%20the%20Future%20of%20Health%20and%20Social%20Care%20in%20England%20-%20Overview.pdf
  •  25% of hospital beds are occupied by people with dementia, Department of Health, 2015, https://www.wp.dh.gov.uk/cno/files/2012/05/CQUINN-safety-thermometer-guidance.pdf.
  • Over the past twenty years there has been a 25% increase in the amount of time people live permanently unwell at the end of their lives, ‘Long Term Public Finance Report’, HM Treasury, 2009, p9.
  • The NHS now spends more on alcohol-related illness among baby boomers than any other age group, with £825m spent on 55-74-year-olds in 2010-11 compared to £64m on under-24s, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20498044.

Population Ageing:

  • On average across OECD countries, there were slightly more than four people of working age (15-64 years) for every person 65 years and older in 2012. This rate is projected to halve from 4.2 in 2012 to 2.1 on average across OECD countries over the next 40 years,OECD, 2013, http://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/Health-at-a-Glance-2013.pdf
  • Centenarians have increased fivefold in the last 30 years, ONS, 2013http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_357100.pdf
  • The proportion of over 75’s will increase from 7.9% in 2012 to 13% in 2037. ONS, 2013. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_357100.pdf
  • There will be 500,000 centenarians by 2066 in the UK, DWP, 2011.
  • 65% of Department for Work and Pensions benefit expenditure goes to those over working age. Continuing to provide state benefits and pensions at today’s average would mean for every additional one million people over working age, additional spending of £10 billion a year would be needed. Parliament UK, 2010http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/key_issues/Key-Issues-The-ageing-population2007.pdf
  • Average spending on the NHS is nearly double for retired households than non-retired households. Parliament UK, 2010 http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/key-issues-for-the-new-parliament/value-for-money-in-public-services/the-ageing-population/
  • Between 2012 to 2032, the population of 65-84 years olds will increase by 39%, and the population of over 85’s will increase by 106%. In contrast, the population of 0-14 years olds will increase by 11%, and 15-64 year olds by 7%. The King’s Fund, 2013http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/time-to-think-differently/trends/demography/ageing-population
  • The ‘old-age dependency ratio’ (the number of people of state pension age for every 1000 people working) will increase from 314 per 1000 in 2009 to 349 per 1000 in 2032, even with the implementation of higher state pension ages. The King’s Fund, 2013. http://www.kingsfund.org.uk/time-to-think-differently/trends/demography/ageing-population
  • There are 600,000 wealthy pensioners who qualify for the highest rates of income tax who still receive winter fuel allowance. Department of Work and Pensions, 2013 via BBC, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-22748914
  •  Winter Fuel Allowance cost £2.7bn in 2011, and free bus passes cost £1bn. Parliament UK, 2013, www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn06019.pdf
  • By 2080, there could be 626,900 people in the UK aged 100 or more, 21,000 of whom will be at least 110, DWP, 2013.
  • The UK will add an extra city the size of London between 2012 and 2037 consisting entirely of over-60s, ONS, 2012.
  • One person will turn 65 every 41 seconds in the UK, http://www.actuarialpost.co.uk/article/longevity%E2%80%99s-top-3-challenges-5037.htm
  • The expectation is that a person in the UK could spend possibly 3 months with physical or mental disability for every year of increase in life expectancy. Other developed countries have experienced similar trends. http://www.actuarialpost.co.uk/article/longevity%E2%80%99s-top-3-challenges-5037.htm
  • Census 2011: 1 in 6 people in England and Wales are over 65 years.
  • By 2020 over half of all voters will be over 50 years of age.
  • By 2040 there will be 10 million over-75s whilst the super-old (aged over 90) will increase by 390 per cent), Howker and Malik, The Jilted Generation, 2010.
  • Census 2011 figures reveal particularly vigorous increase in number of over-90’s rising from 13,000 in 1911 to 430,000 in 2011.
  • In 1971 over-60s made up one in five of the population, in 2030 over-60s will make up almost one third of the population, 2008 National Population Projections, Office of National Statistics, 21 October 2009.
  • 100,000 people get winter fuel allowance even though they earn over £100,000, Howker and Malik, The Jilted Generation, 2010.
  • Winter Fuel Allowance cost £2.7bn in 2010.
  • The cost of caring for the elderly could treble by 2050. 10% of people in OECD countries will be more than 80 years old by 2050, as longevity increases, OECD, 18 May 2011.
  • By 2050, Britain will have to spend £80 billion per year above what it does now on pensions, long-term elderly care and the NHS.” OECD, 23 May 2011.
  • State pension liability passes £3.8 TRILLION, (£150k per household), ONS, April 2012.



For further information please contact Liz Emerson on liz@if.org.uk Mob: 07971 228823