We campaign to get a fairer deal for younger and future generations. In order to make change happen, we need your help. By taking part in our campaigns, you can show the government that there is public support for measures to improve the prospects of younger and future generations.
We meet with our supporters once a month in order to report back on activity undertaken and discuss work to be taken forward. If you would like to attend one of our meetings to learn more about our work please email [email protected].
Housing is a major source of intergenerational unfairness. Successive governments have poured kerosene on the housing market so that house price inflation has consistently outstripped wage growth. While older generations were able to purchase homes for three or four times their annual income, today people looking to buy a home will typically be expected to pay seven or eight times their annual income. Housing is also a major factor in the UK’s unsustainable regional inequality, meaning many younger people have to move to where housing is most expensive to enjoy the jobs they want. For younger generations, the obstacles to home ownership are huge compared to what they were a generation or two before.
It’s not just for younger generations trying to get on the housing market that this intergenerational unfairness is an issue. For many younger people, renting is the only alternative, and house price inflation means millions of young people are paying billions of pounds in rent every year to landlords who benefited from being able to afford to buy a home.
With younger people increasingly priced out of the dream of home ownership and many paying over the odds to rent, it is imperative that housing inequality is addressed. We need to build hundreds of thousands of new homes every year and make better use of our existing housing. Housing does not have to drive intergenerational unfairness. The housing crisis can be solved and we can create a new settlement on housing that is fair for all generations.
For previous generations, attending university was free or cheap. Now, UK university students can expect to be tens of thousands of pounds in debt after they graduate. Depending on their income, that debt can grow via exorbitant interest rates faster than they are able to pay it off. Repaying student debt is effectively a graduate tax, adding several per cent to the tax that graduates are expected to pay, not because their income is great or they have amassed significant wealth, but simply because they have been to university. We at IF think that is wrong and unfair.
We believe the nation should be investing in higher education as a public good. We recognise that universities must be sustainably funded, but the current system of student finance is broken. In particular, it is unfair and outrageous that student debt can grow via interest at a faster rate than students can be expected to pay it off.
The climate crisis is perhaps the most pressing issue of intergenerational fairness. Future generations’ right to a liveable, breathable, sustainable planet is absolutely paramount. Nothing short of radical action to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of the changing climate will be enough to guarantee we pass on a healthy planet to the generations who will inhabit it after us.
Younger generations today are lucky to be growing up in an age where mental health is much better understood and appreciated than it was previously. There is still stigma attached to mental ill health and the campaign to give everyone the chance to talk openly and freely about their mental health is vital.
But greater understanding of mental health doesn’t belie the fact that there are huge pressures on younger generations. We are still a long way from genuine parity of esteem in our healthcare system. The pressures that come with school, employment and life chances were all present before the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown, which has added to and exacerbated all of those pressures.
IF is campaigning for investment in children and young people’s mental health. Research suggests that 50% of mental health problems are present by age 14 and 75% by age 24. With the right kind of early intervention, the prospects for young people’s long-term mental health could be drastically improved, with knock-on benefits down the line for the NHS and for government finances.