A group of MPs have suggested a levy on self-service checkouts to raise £30m and fund social integration projects, in a report published last week.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Social Integration launched the Healing the Generational Divide interim report, which offers solutions to divisions between older and younger people.
One of its key recommendations is a 1p levy on self-service checkouts that it estimates could raise £30m per year and be used to fund social integration projects.
The report also proposes a range of measures to promote volunteering.
The cross-party project into intergenerational connection launched in December 2017 and this report marks its mid-point.
Chuka Umunna MP, chair of the APPG said: “Disagreements over EU membership have served to shine a light on the issue of generational division in this country, but Brexit is not the cause of this division.
“Rather, what we have seen in the course of this inquiry suggests that generational division extends far beyond the realm of politics, into most aspects of our daily lives.”
The report suggests four policy areas and several practical actions to bring the generations together, bridging different political outlooks, as well as geographical and social separation.
The policy areas are community projects and initiatives, public services, housing and planning, and technology.
- A single penny charge on self-service transactions, which could raise £30m each year for intergenerational projects.
- Multi-generational homes and homesharing between young and old at discounted rents in exchange for support and companionship.
- A tax break for volunteers who give their time to a public service like a nursery, school or care home.
- A ‘Take Your Headphones Off Day’ with Transport for London and with Transport for Greater Manchester to encourage conversation between ages.
- Nurseries, school and care homes to co-locate and foster connections between the generations.
- A new national volunteering scheme encouraging older people to volunteer when they retire.
'They just complain more'
A recent poll cited by the APPG found that half of older people, aged 75 and over, think younger generations “don’t have it bad, they just complain more”.
In April the Office for National Statistics found that people between 16 and 24 were most likely to call themselves lonely.
Nearly 20 per cent of over 75s said they felt lonely some of the time.
Over half of the population said Brexit has widened the gap between young and old.
Dr Matt Dickson, deputy director of the University of Bath’s Institute for Policy Research, where the report was launched, 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.”