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Post-Brexit Britain Heading For "Intergenerational Apartheid", Report Warns

The report, from the United for All Ages think tank, recommended old people's homes also house children's centres.

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Action is urgently needed to stop the UK becoming increasingly divided by age after the Brexit vote and to prevent "intergenerational apartheid", according to a new report.

A Country for All Ages, from the United for All Ages think tank, argues that social and economic trends – not least the ongoing housing crisis – mean that young and old people are more isolated from each other than ever.

The report warns that the average Briton, excepting family contact, has 56% less interaction with people outside their own age range than if there were no social division at all.

Whereas previous generations moved out to the suburbs to buy a house after having children, the report said, young parents are now increasingly staying in towns and cities and renting.

The median age of people in rural areas grew twice as quickly as in urban areas from 1991 to 2014, the report said, quoting stats from the Intergenerational Foundation.

People living in rural areas and on the fringes of towns have a median age of 50, while this falls to just over 35 for major urban centres such as Brighton and Cardiff.

A report from the Resolution Foundation in July 2016 found that today's twentysomethings will on average pay £44,000 more in rent by the time they are 30 than their parents' generation.

The EU referendum in June 2016 illustrated how the UK was divided politically in terms of age: People aged 18 to 24 voted 75% in favour of Remain, versus 39% of those aged over 65.

The report recommends:

– Placing elderly care homes and children's centres and early-years education centres in the same place to increase the interaction of young and old.

– Establishing a national council for all ages, including groups that speak for both young and old people.

– Online mentoring of young people by the old and an increase in homeshare schemes where younger people live for free or at low cost in an older person's house in return for basic care and daily chores.

Stephen Burke, director of United for All Ages, said: "Britain is increasingly divided by age and by generation. Ending age apartheid and promoting social integration between generations can help build communities and a country for all ages, where we are united not divided. In Brexit Britain that is an ambition worth pursuing in 2017.

"By sharing our concerns and interests and sharing our experiences and community activities across generations, we can promote stronger understanding and trust between people of all ages.

"Starting in our neighbourhoods and communities, we can all take responsibility to make it happen. In our ageing society this is the big challenge for social innovation in 2017 and beyond."

Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Patrick Smith at

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