Wednesday, 11 July 2012 INDEX

Baby booomers
The boomers. Millions of them aren't there? All the soldiers went home and started families after the war.

Actually it's all a load of nonsense and the truth is that in the key decade (1951-1961) the population hardly grew at all!

The increase in population of England and Wales in that decade was about 2 million. Even if you take 1939 to 1961 it was only 4 million. Between the 1951 and 1961 censuses there were 7,121,000 live births, rather less than in any decade between 1871 and 1921. In fact the population increase was on the low side in the 1951/1961 decade.

And right now there's a wave of immigration, mostly young East Europeans. Net migration to the UK is running at about a quarter of a million a year (according to the latest statistics).

In the so called boomer years the net increase in population was about 200,000 a year.

So there might be an extra 200,000 pensioners each year, but there's also 250,000 mostly young, economically active people to take their place.

According to the latest statistics there are 29.13 million economically active people in employment. I can't find the statistics but thanks to the increase in female employment, improved health and the fact that many jobs are now less physically demanding, I believe this is a far higher percentage of the population than in the 1950s.

Right now there's mass unemployment and many people who want to get a job are unable to do so. There may be feckless and idle people out there but not all the unemployed are like that. Many are absolutely desperate to get work.

The idea of making it harder for younger people to get jobs by forcing older people to work when they would prefer to retire, is plain evil. It also makes no economic sense.

The wealthy and those with extreme right wing views want to reduce public services because they don't use these services and they want to cut taxes (since even the wealthiest person has to pay some tax, VAT for example).

In the 1960s and 1970s (when they knew all about the baby boomers story) we were promised a reducing retirement age, as automation took over and we moved into a leisure society.

But in those days there were fewer billionaires and their ability to manipulate the public agenda was not so profound.

One thing should be retired (permanently) and that's this story about the baby boomers.

Posted by Jonathan Brind
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 INDEX