Intergenerational fairness is in vogue. It is discussed in Sunday morning TV political debates. Senior politicians write books about it. It has even spawned its own think tank. Yet the use of the term in popular debate is imprecise, ill-defined and confused. Too often, discussions fail to distinguish between lifetime consumption smoothing and intergenerational predation. More worryingly, the debate evinces a lack of clarity about what is meant by “intergenerational” and “fairness”.
This report sets outs a theoretical framework upon which to base future explorations of intergenerational fairness in particular policy areas. As such, it seeks to define what intergenerational fairness is – and, crucially, what it is not – and asks whether it should be our main cause of concern.
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3 December 2014
The postgraduate loans model designed by CentreForum featured in the Chancellor’s 2014 Autumn Statement.
Professor Stephen Lee, Chief Executive of CentreForum, commented:
"We warmly welcome the adoption of CentreForum's postgraduate loans scheme and look forward to the consultation. Investment in skills, and particularly higher level skills, is vital to Britain's international competitiveness, and for fostering academic talent at home. Widening access to postgraduate education is also good for social mobility. The government estimates that 10,000 students who would not otherwise be undertaking postgraduate study will benefit from the scheme each year."
"We are pleased that the scheme is to cover all degree disciplines including the creative ones."
"On the specifics, we understand that it is important to have an age cut off point for entitlement to ensure debt is repaid, and the government is restricting this policy to under 30s. But it is important to remember that a majority of postgraduate taught students are over 25, so the policy might not capture every person for whom loan entitlement would be a decisive factor in a doing a master's degree. We urge government to consider raising the age limit to include people in their thirties."
"It is not yet clear whether the loans scheme will cover fees, maintenance or both. There are certain advantages of not linking it just to fees because that could act as signal to institutions to raise their fee levels to £10,000."
"A further question is whether those individuals who have both undergraduate and postgraduate loans will have to pay back their debt at higher annual rate than those with undergraduate debt only?"