Barely a week goes by when intergenerational inequality doesn't make headlines. Young people, reports and surveys conclude with depressing regularity, are in dire straits economically (because of tuition fees, the housing crisis, stagnant wages, unstable employment, a government that routinely ignores them, the list goes on); while the elderly sit back with their hefty state pensions and enjoy watching TV (with their free licence) in their large, warm homes, and free bus trips... or so many young people believe.
Today, this notional generational battle reached fever pitch with the release of a report from the Committee on Intergenerational Fairness. Compiled by a group of peers, it concluded that the age-related benefits currently on offer to pensioners should be scrapped completely, with the money instead going towards housing and training for young people. "Outdated" age-related perks – annual winter fuel payments, free TV licences for the over-75s, and free bus passes for over-65s – should all be done away with said Conservative peer Lord True, as pensioner households are no longer "at the bottom of the income scale". Instead, he concludes, that honour goes to young people.
Given the current state of UK politics – which sees our Conservative government reliant on the votes of the elderly – it's unlikely the report's most headline-grabbing suggestions will be implemented, as least not any time soon. In addition, many pointed out that it was rich for wealthy peers – with likely little experience of pensioner poverty themselves – to make this argument, while others argued it wasn't an issue of young versus old: "everyone, regardless of income or background," should be able to "enjoy every stage of life," said Dr Anna Dixon, chief executive of the Centre for Ageing Better.
But what do grandmothers outside of the political and economic realm make of the report? After decades contributing to the workforce and paying tax, would they give up their benefits for their grandchildren? Or do the young have it easy these days? Ahead, four women share their views.