Review of the newspapers for the first week in January 2020
Just two rather unusual, relevant perspectives:
Amelia Hill gives us: ‘Pensioners’ spending is adding billions to the economy’ https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/jan/02/uk-retirees-spending-rockets-as-younger-people-spend-less
An article which draws on a report for the International Longevity Centre: https://ilcuk.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Maximising-the-longevity-dividend.pdf
It provides a thorough and elegant review of the financial profiles of older people within the context of the wider population and is a development on from the review of inter-generational matters which we considered at the Sheffield Conference. Older people are fitter than in previous generations: they are already more likely to remain in paid employment than previous cohorts. They are relatively well off, but are modest in their spending patterns. Quite apart from paid employment, an Age UK analysis has calculated that people aged 50 and older contributed £226.1 billion to the UK economy in 2017. This equates to 11.3% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product)
This paper looks toward ways of unlocking the ‘longevity dividend’ – encouraging older people to work longer and to spend more freely. Older people are identified as prey – their resources to be drawn on for the benefit of the rest of society. This is an uncomfortable reversal of previous models which have seen older people as in need of care and supplements.
Simon Jenkins wrote of the physical attractions of churches and the economic vibrancy of cathedrals and Christmas services: www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/27/britain-churches-cathedrals-anglican
He declares himself a church-lover, but not a church-goer – by which I take it he means that he is not a person of faith. His analysis of why Christmas services are so well attended – because of ‘a lingering family attachment to childhood ritual’ – is worth thinking about. There is just a suggestion of something deep inside which overrides the fashions of everyday life 2020.
There is much wisdom in the seven letters published in response: www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jan/03/faith-in-the-church-and-its-ability-to-survive. I am particularly taken by Leigh Hatts’ thoughts on how to respond to the falling congregations in rural and other churches. Rather than rotate services between churches to a ‘complex railway time-table’, we should respect the wishes of congregants who want to worship in their own place at a regular time, even if the attendees are few. This would require modified services to be conducted by the laity. Such honest local ownership might light unexpected sparks.
David Jolley January 2020