Politicians must do more to close the gap between young and old, a charity says, after a landmark study revealed “alarming” differences in wellbeing.

A survey of almost 7,000 people for Carnegie UK found that people over 55 consistently reported better living standards than younger generations.

The Life in the UK survey also found widespread levels of disillusionment with politics, with 73% saying they could not influence decisions affecting the whole of the UK and 56% saying they could not influence local decisions influence.

Sarah Davidson, chief executive of Carnegie UK, said: “Our new Life in the UK index shows an alarming gap between the life experiences of young and old in our country.”

“The detailed research shows that people under 55 in the UK are more likely to be in economically vulnerable situations and feel like they have no one to rely on in their neighborhood. Younger age groups report poorer air quality and a lack of local green space, and these citizens are more likely to be politically dissatisfied.

The index shows the dangerous state of British democracy

“UK decision makers need to work harder to close the wellbeing gap between young and old. While that means we need to address tax and social policy, we also need to look for new ways to firmly anchor the interests and priorities of younger people in our public policy.”

The divide between young and old has become increasingly significant in British politics in recent years, particularly in housing, as it becomes increasingly difficult for younger people to buy a home or even secure permanent accommodation.

The Life in the UK survey asked a series of questions about economic, social, environmental and democratic issues to produce an overall well-being score out of 100.

While the national average was 62, those over 55 reached 65, while those aged 16 to 34 reached 59 and those aged 35 to 54 reached 60.

Ms Davidson pointed out that the overall score was significantly lowered by poor “well-being of democracy” ratings, with even older generations saying they felt disconnected.

She said: “The index shows the perilous state of British democracy, with only a fraction of the population feeling they can influence decisions that affect them.”

“This lack of trust has a corrosive effect on society because without a strong relationship between government and citizens, it becomes difficult to develop public policies that meet people’s needs.”

“That’s why we believe all sectors of government should introduce initiatives such as citizen juries and meaningful participatory budgeting to restore trust and increase transparency.”

The figures are based on a survey of 6,941 British adults between May 18 and 24, conducted in collaboration with pollster Ipsos UK.

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