Chuka Umunna MP is to give a keynote speech on the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Integration’s interim report on intergenerational connection at Inside Government’s prestigious social cohesion conference on Thursday 24 January.
Chuka Umunna, who chairs the APPG, will give a special keynote speech at the conference setting out the current state of the UK’s generational divide, and how a range of policy areas, including community programmes, public services, housing and technology, can help to bridge the gap.
The report will be the first published as part of the APPG’s ongoing inquiry into intergenerational connection, which began in December 2017. It will draw on written evidence from 30 different individuals and organisations working to bring generations closer together, as well as evidence gathered during community visits in London, Manchester and the West Midlands, and four parliamentary hearings.
The generational divide
The APPG was first inspired to explore intergenerational connection following the stark political divides between different age groups exposed during the 2016 EU referendum and 2017 General Election. In the EU referendum around three-quarters of young people voted Remain and two-thirds of older people voted Leave, whilst the Ipsos Social Research Institute said the 2017 General Election resulted in the biggest political division between age groups they have ever measured.
But throughout the course of the inquiry, the APPG has found the generational divide to extend far beyond politics. Different age groups are increasingly living parallel lives in different parts of the country, not spending meaningful time with one another on a regular basis, and unable to form the bonds of trust and understanding that characterise an integrated society. Younger people tend to live in urban city or town centres and older people in more rural areas: between 1991 and 2014, the median age of people living in rural areas rose nearly twice as quickly as the median age in urban areas. And even when younger and older people live in the same city they tend to reside in different neighbourhoods. In the UK’s 25 biggest cities, only 5% of people who live in the same neighbourhood as someone under the age of 18 are over 65, down from 15% in 1991.
A decline in shared spaces such as libraries and community centres has also made it harder to bring generations together across these geographical divides.
What can be done?
As well as shedding further light on the nature of the generational divide, the APPG’s interim report will set out some general principles for local and central government to strengthen the ties between different age groups, and explore four main policy areas that can help achieve this:
- Intergenerational communities: the role of local, grassroots initiatives which unite generations through shared interests such as art, music, politics and conversation, what they can do to be more effective, and how local and central government can help them thrive.
- Intergenerational public services: how intergenerational connection can be embedded throughout care and education, on public transport, and via schemes to help older people stay active in their communities.
- Intergenerational housing and planning: how existing housing can be used to improve intergenerational connection, and how new housing, as well as whole towns and cities, can be designed for all ages.
- Technology and intergenerational connection: the role of technology as both a source of disconnection and loneliness among different age groups, and as a potential tool for strengthening intergenerational connections.
Book your place at the conference now
Inside Government’s conference on ‘Improving Social Cohesion and Integration across Local Communities’ is taking place in central London on Thursday 24 January between 8.45am – 4.30pm.
It will provide an opportunity to reflect on the Government’s Integrated Communities Strategy and how it aims to enhance social cohesion in local communities. As well as Chuka Umunna’s keynote speech, the forum will feature leading speakers from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Local Government Association (LGA), Cohesion and Integration Network and a number of local councils.
To secure your place as soon as possible register now. Tickets cost between £325-£595, but we’re offering an exclusive 10% discount for those in the public and voluntary sector. To claim your discount, please contact Deborah Makinde on 0203 770 6648 or email [email protected] and quote ‘COHESION2019’.
We look forward to seeing you there, and to hearing from you in the second phase of the APPG’s inquiry. To find out more about the APPG and stay up-to-date with all its latest news, visit socialintegrationappg.org.uk and sign-up for its e-newsletter.