17/12/2012 Newsnight Scotland


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hesitate. That floors me. Tonight on Newsnight Scotland...


Our population may be at it's highest ever level, but it is also


aging fast. So do we have the money and the ideas to help us grow old


gracefully? How will the younger generation care for the elderly,


and why should they? Good evening.


There's more of us, but as a country we're getting older. Those


are the headlines from the 2011 census statistics publish today.


It's not a surprise that our population is aging but whether


we're doing enough to deal with the effects is another matter. Both


government and individuals face tough decisions about how to plan


for the future. We'll discuss that in a moment, but first Jamie Mcivor


takes a look at the figures. The population is ageing. More


people living to an old age but the over 65 so my make-up a bigger


proportion of Scotland's population than children for the first time


ever. It can mean more demand for services for the elderly, whether


they're paid for by the taxpayer or by charities by this lunch club --


like this lunch club. There are so many people getting much older.


We're going to have to get a bigger pension in the future. We have done


our stuff in the past. There are too many old folks these days.


first data from the last census was unveiled today. 1, 2, 3, jump.


the jump is not just in the total population. 890,000 are aged over


65. That is bigger than the number of children for the first time.


This trend begs underlying questions over just high public


services should be focused and how services for the elderly should be


financed. Pensioners' organisations say the Government should choose


his priorities soon. They have to look at what way they are putting


the money out and decide if they are putting it in the right place?


Education? Yes, that is good. But we cannot forget the people who


have been in a World War and they're coming along and they have


to have the services as well. Changing demographics have big


implications for the sort of public services we need and how they


should be funded. When the 1911 census was conducted, old age


pensions were a novelty and only a relatively small number of people


lived long enough to receive them. Indeed, the whole shape of society


has changed over the past century, quite literally. This graph shows


the make-up of the population in 1911. The biggest single group our


children aged four and under. If you go up the graph, fewer and


fewer people of every age are there, until you find just a tiny number


aged over 90. Now to have a look at a similar graph for last year. The


population is much more evenly spread and there are far more older


people. When you look at the census date of 100 years ago, we had very


high numbers of births but people died much earlier. Life-expectancy


for a woman in 1911 was 53 years and 54 men. At the opposite end of


this deal, we know that in 1911, for every 1000 babies that were


born, 100 and that Dean died before the first birthday. By 2011, that


figure has dropped to 4%, so you see the population is living longer


and you have let dine offered these young the ages. -- lest dying off


at these young ages. There is more to consider and where the balance


lies between the young and old. Scotland's population over all was


at its highest ever, defying predictions of long-term decline.


That is not just because people are living for longer. There has been


more berths than debts and that is part of the story, but there has


been more migration as well. changing demographics of our


population beg many questions. How should public services be shipped?


House should be services be paid for? And our policies like free bus


travel and free personal care for the elderly really affordable long


term? I'm joined now by personal finance


expert Fergus Muirhead, from Dundee by the journalist and commentator


Lesley Riddoch and by Eben Wilson, the Director of TaxpayerScotland


campaigning organisation, who's in Southampton tonight. This fact that


we now have more elderly and young people, someone has just handed me


a copy of the Scottish Daily Mail, whose headlined his time bomb of


all the age. Is it has something we have to sort out or is it


potentially a crisis? It is potentially a crisis. The


inter-generational debt has got so large that young people who we are


relying on to pay for the pensions of the elderly, unfortunately,


there's not enough of them. We have to get round that problem. There


probably are ways. We can be horribly negative about this. There


is 3.8 trillion of contingent debt in the public pension system. Or we


can just get down to it and do something about it.


The 3.8 trillion figure you mentioned, this is liabilities to


people who were already retired or everyone in the workforce?


Everybody in the workforce plus the people who are already retired.


Does it strike you as a crisis? Something struggles in me to see it


that way. And I elderly? I and 52. Is the 65-year-old Emily? I don't


find many 65-year-old regard themselves that way. The film talk


about the generation that came through the war and what they


deserve. Anybody that is becoming a pension and I was born after the


war. They also tend to own their own homes. They're not, generally


speaking, living in old folk's homes. Some of the ideas we have


about two new sets of pensioners are has already kind about it did.


It is like we are wedded to our own grandparents were and we have not


updated yet to think about ourselves. My mother lived in about


three or four houses in her life and that was quite exceptional


because she moved a lot. I can't keep track of how many different


living arrangements I have had. When I'm older, I would be more


flexible. I would consider a different kind of arrangement and I


would want them for me to choose. The potential crisis?


I think lot of people have not made provisions for all data. I agree


with Lesley that the idea of what all changes is different now. I


read something about of the Government... That is what I wanted


to ask. We say crisis, but the state pension age for women is


already increasing and from 2020 it will start increasing the on 65 for


both. Doesn't that have a huge effect on public finances?


expectation is that someone who was 19 now might not get the state


pension until they're 77, if current trends are extrapolated


onwards. I think there is a huge implications the state pension but


also for people who have not made their own pension arrangements.


am interested in your take on this. When you look at the effect of


raising a state pension age, it makes this crisis you describe


suddenly seemed a lot less severe. It is all possible. I am saying we


should not be utterly pessimistic but there is a great deal to be


done. The difficulty is that... on the issue of equity, there has


been all sorts of talk recently that supposedly the baby-boomer


generation have grabbed all their money -- all the money for


themselves and it is terribly unfair on the younger generation,


but I assume that the quid pro quo is that of the raised their


retirement age, people who are 19 now it might well exist -- expect


to live till around 110. It is not one-sided. And then that they have


to pay for their retirement and they will not be able to say


anything in the meantime because the elderly have used the money up.


So the deeper problems. If someone has also died BT's or breast cancer


or prostate cancer, people are going to live a for a very long


time. Is that such a problem? There must be ways round that. I am


curious about this idea of inter- generational blamed. Is there any


meaningful sense in which you think young people do have a right to


feel resentful about a baby boomer generation who love spent all the


money and have also put us in that debt for future years. I think they


may feel resentful of the see people who were 65 getting a


pension at that age and they are told they cannot expect to get one


until their perhaps BT but they have to start paying for it now.


wonder, Lesley, or whether there is a class issue hidden in here. There


must be many people know who were younger who will inherit houses


from their parents worth half-a- million, who knows, a million


pounds. Which immediately widens the gap between that younger


generation person and a younger generation person who inherits


nothing. In a way that did not happen a generation ago. In that


sense, I am curious as to whether you think what is being called a


generation problem could actually be a surrogate for actually an


inner quality problems. Why do not think of something a matter to


them? If we do have the next generation be more productive, let


us help them. Let us put a kindergarten in so women can be


part of the work force and let us make sure that early years is in,


because that is kids the best capability in the rest of their


lives. I would say that if we cannot do much, and it will be hard


to repatriate wealth between generations because the old -- the


older generation will not give it up, we can make sure that our


spending is tilted to give the next generation will -- the next -- a


better experience of work. That is a shift in a relation mate, and by


saying to the state that we now need to make sure that we had the


provisions for the working age population that allows them to do


the heavy lifting. Do you think we may have to give up the whole


concept of free provision of pensions, nursing care, health


care? As this problem gets worse? do not think it is just that we


will, I think it is that they should. I think Lesley is talking


about building personal capital and the need to change the institutions


so that we can build personal capital. What has happened is that


the state has run as out of money and a better way of going about it


is to try and personalise the way that we look after ourselves during


their lives... But what do you mean by that? Are you talking about


privatising the whole lot or are you talking about a social


insurance scheme? I think that the word privatising does not help. I


got personalising. I would like to see the contingent debt put to one


side and then let the young people free. I would like everyone who is


16 and over it to be allowed to keep their national insurance and


put it in a pot for them and they can work from there. Some people


hate this because it sounds like privatisation, it is


personalisation. It allows it -- allows us to take an centres on


ourselves to have something to look after us. A free society should


allow us to build up personal capital. The other side of that is


that surely if you want to go about creating a war of the generations,


what are we to do it would be to say to young people, you have to


say it -- you have to pay was of taxes that are taking to pay for


old people, but you're not going to get any of the things that they pay.


I think the interesting point made there is that people need to feel


more engaged with the idea of pensions. People feel that they


have no control over it because they pay money into something and


are constantly told that they are not getting any map -- any money


back. Unless you are lucky enough to pay into a company pension


scheme, what is the plight as we to put this? The British pension


industry has not recovered itself in glory when it comes to private


pensions. People feel disengaged because successive governments have


changed pension policy. We are now in a situation where people are


starting to benefit from their parents' homes and money passing


down the generations. Pension planning is not just about this


thing called a pension, it is about looking at all sorts of different


types of assets and capital. I am curious as to your thoughts on


personalising this. I think it is that if we think about things that


are clever light currently a lot of tenements have older people living


in the ground floor. As we have more older people, we need to have


people living on other floors. We need to think about retro fitting


so we can put lifts in. It is things that they give people more


choice. Thank you all very much. There says. Timebomb of old age.


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