Tag Archives: older people

Let’s stop scapegoating older people


Since the Referendum and in the reaction since the Autumn statement I’ve seen a worrying rise in the amount of abuse being directed to older members of society based on the notion that they are somehow groaning under the weight of so much cash, greedily demanding benefits, whilst denying subsequent generations access to the EU with their vote to leave.

I am worried.

We, as a society, seem to be lurching from one scapegoat to the next in a desperate attempt to blame anyone except ourselves for the state this country finds itself in. Whilst it is true that many pensioners have large savings pots, pensions and may have done well from the property booms of the 80’s and 90’s, others do not and find themselves truly just about managing. The exception is not the rule. Yet the generalisations seen during our last panic towards working age benefits recipients seem to be being applied to pensioners. They are all bleeding this country dry and something must be done, some penalty must be paid for denying the generations to come access to a European future.

Posted in Op-eds | 48 Comments

Of chocolate and jobs

Last month I visited York’s Chocolate Story, a visitor attraction in the centre of the city of York. A very lively tour guide told us about the Quakers who established the chocolate industry in York, and we saw how filled chocolates are made (and got to eat some) and made our own chocolate lollies (and got to eat them too). The other visitors included several grandparents, who seemed to be enjoying the experience at least as much as their grandchildren!

As the UK population gets older, the leisure industry has observed that we are becoming far more interested in acquiring ‘cultural capital’. Since 2009 household spending on recreation and culture has risen faster than total household consumption (VisitEngland, 2013). Older people, whilst more numerous, are getting ‘younger’ wanting to undertake new experiences and acquire new knowledge and skills – whether it’s baking, gardening or learning about history or art.

This creates new employment opportunities that we should be actively promoting.  Rather than working in yet another retail mall, young people can acquire knowledge that they can then share. Enriching an older person’s life is far more rewarding than stacking shelves or driving a delivery van. Of course there are concerns that these will be low paid jobs. However older people, whose incomes have been protected most in the years since the recession are likely to be able and willing to pay, and indeed this could be a good transfer of cash from the old to the younger generation.

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 16 Comments

Recent Comments

  • Barry Lofty
    Very good article Lorenzo but I would not be giving Boris Johnson any plus points at all for his performance as PM just as I have also no time for the present "...
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    Neil I think my natural tendency to see the best, gets the better of me on judgement based on youthful inexperience, in that case, on Truss, when a teen. You...