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The Leveson Centre for the study of Ageing, Spirituality and Social Policy

The Policy Challenges of Population Ageing

The Policy Challenges of Population Ageing

Kenneth Howse, Research Fellow, Institute of Ageing, Oxford, 2003. Leveson Paper 5

What are the implications of an ageing population?

  • Will the costs of supporting increasing numbers of older people become impossibly burdensome, or has this threat been massively exaggerated?
  • Is there really a pensions crisis?
  • Do we need to raise the retirement age?
  • Must we have tighter controls over health and social care expenditure on elderly people or do we have a 'big enough pot' which we only need to share more equitably between the generations?
  • What can older people rightly expect from society?
  • How far should their care fall upon members of their families?
  • In broader terms, where should the balance lie between the generations in terms of paying taxes and receiving benefits?

In this paper Kenneth Howse draws on a wide range of academic research to explore these contested issues. He examines in considerable detail the various projections which have been made and demonstrates the assumptions and value judgements that lie behind them. The key questions are questions of justice which take the reader beyond economics into ethics and political commitment.

This is essential reading for anyone who needs to understand the implications of an ageing population for policy making.

Read review of paper 5

The Policy Challenges of Population Ageing (Leveson Paper 5)
Kenneth Howse, 2003.

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