Longer lives, stronger families?

Social Market Foundation
This report examines the changing nature of intergenerational support.

The last Parliament saw the introduction of the 'family test' which should be applied to all new policies, to ensure that 'the potential impacts on family relationships and functioning are made explicit and recognised'.

This report looks at the changing nature of the extended family, which (thanks to longer lives, older first time mothers and reduced fertility rates) the author describes as being 'longer and thinner' than ever, and the importance of intergenerational support.

The report argues for the inclusion of their findings when assessing policy impact according to the 'family test'.

Covering inheritance, the author notes the increasing desire or necessity for retirees to undertake 'in-life' giving to children and grandchildren and the potential impact on their own needs in retirement such as social care costs.

The authors also discuss the 'skipped middle' who see 'their' inheritance from their parents (on which they relied to fill their own pension pots) going direct to grandchildren who are perceived as in greater need of help, particularly with housing costs.

The 'inbetweener' generation aged 60-70 are also characterised as facing 'triple pressures'; trying to remain in the labour market due to the rising pension age, caring for elderly parents and providing grandparental (or even great-grandparental) childcare.

Cursory mention is also made of the 'growing minority that don't have family members to support them' and the need to balance 'additional help and support' for them with that for multi-generational families.

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