Launch of ‘Healing the Generational Divide’ report

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Social Integration has today launched its Healing the Generational Divide interim report, examining the extent of the current gap between older and younger people, and what can be done to bridge it.

The APPG’s chair, Chuka Umunna MP, is launching the report at the University of Bath’s Institute for Policy Research (IPR), alongside Bath MP and APPG officer, Wera Hobhouse MP. The launch comes on a day when new polling finds that one in two people aged 75 or over think the younger generation ‘don’t have it bad, they just complain more,’ while 52% of the UK population believe Brexit has widened the gap between the old and the young.

To bridge generational divides, which not only include different political outlooks but increasing geographical and social separation between age groups, the APPG’s interim report sets out a series of suggestions to bring people of all ages and backgrounds together under four main policy areas – community projects and initiatives, public services, housing and planning, and technology.

Specific recommendations include:

  • A penny charge on every transaction carried out using self-service machines to counteract potential damage caused by a lack of everyday contact between people. This could generate £30m or more per year to fund intergenerational and community projects.
  • All nurseries, schools and care homes should be encouraged to foster connections between the different generations who use their services and, where possible, to co-locate services on one site.
  • The creation of a new flagship national volunteering scheme that encourages older people to volunteer in their communities when they retire.
  • The government should explore a small tax break for people who commit to a set number of hours of volunteering within a public service per month, such as a nursery, school or care home.
  • Transport bodies like Transport for London and Transport for Greater Manchester should encourage intergenerational connection through initiatives like a ‘Take Your Headphones Off Day’ and community seating, which promote conversation between different generations.

The interim report marks the half-way point in the APPG’s inquiry into intergenerational connection, which will result in the publication of a final report at the end of the year.

Commenting on the launch of Healing the Generational Divide, Chuka Umunna MP said, “We all know that Brexit has been incredibly divisive but what we have seen over the course of this inquiry suggests that generational division extends far beyond the realm of politics, into our daily lives.

“This report sets out the beginnings of a framework where local, regional and national government can work together to foster stronger connections between generations. Now, more than ever, we need to act to bring our country back together and move forward as one. That’s why it’s vital we keep talking about what is happening in our society, try to understand why and find solutions that will help heal the generational divide.”

Dr Matt Dickson, deputy director of the Institute for Policy Research, spoke about the IPR’s Loneliness in the Digital Age project – which looks at using digital technologies to tackle episodes of loneliness for isolated communities – and how it links with the APPG’s work.

He said: “If we want to lay the groundwork for a more cohesive society in which people from all generations feel more united and integrated, we need an approach that cuts across policy areas and spans from national to local levels, bringing together policymakers, practitioners and researchers. Research from the University of Bath, across multiple different areas, is seeking to improve our understanding and responses to these important issues.”

Antony Hawkins, director of strategy and business development at The Challenge, said: “At The Challenge we’ve known for a long time that our society is divided along many fault lines so it great to see this group both delve deep into the reasons for divisions between the ages and offer suggestions on how we bridge that gap.”

You can download the full Healing the Generational Divide report here.

Learn more about the APPG and have your say!

You can sign up to receive updates from the APPG here or by emailing [email protected]. Join the conversation on how we can heal the generational divide by tweeting @IntegrationAPPG. Our hashtag for the report launch is #HealingDivides.