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Baby-boomers concessions: How ticket discounts for a wealthier generation reinforce unfairness

This report looks at 35 of the UK’s leading attractions’ ticketing policies and questions whether their ticketing policies are intergenerationally fair. The report finds that more than 75% of paid-entrance museums, galleries and attractions in the UK are giving £65 million worth of ticket-price concessions each year to the over-60s, regardless of their ability to pay.

Top offenders include Edinburgh Castle, the National War Museum in Edinburgh, Stirling Castle and Urquhart Castle, all of which offer an over-60s concession but no student or young person’s discount.

Current ticket-price concession practices appear to make the assumption that today’s over-60s are less well-off than recent graduates, a myth that has not been the case both in terms of income and asset wealth for the past 15 years.

The authors also look at the cost of tickets measured against disposable income and find that on average a young person would spend 12% of their weekly disposable income (before travel costs) on a ticket, while the same ticket for an over-60 person (with free travel) would cost only 5.6% of their weekly disposable income.

The cost of these concessions would be enough to fund the running of at least 150 independent museums (£430,000 per year on average) and fund the equivalent of 1,500 jobs.

While some UK institutions, such as the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Albert Hall, the Eden Project and the Royal Academy of Art, are leading the way in acknowledging intergenerational fairness, the UK lags behind other European countries. Italy has abandoned old-age discounts and France gives free admission to the under-25s, but many cultural attractions in the UK continue to discriminate against the young.