Sometimes someone comes up with an idea that is so half-baked, you can only shake your head in despair and check the calender just to see if it’s April 1.

And what is it that has got me all perplexed?

It is the idea that a £10,000 payment should be given to the young and pensioners taxed more.

Apparently, this will bring about ‘inter-generational fairness in the UK’.

According to the BBC, the research and policy organisation, the Resolution Foundation, says these radical moves are needed to better fund the NHS and maintain social cohesion.

Its chairman, Lord Willetts, said the contract between young and old had broken down and without action, young people would become ‘increasingly angry’.

Lord Willetts, head of the Resolution Foundation, is a former universities minister under David Cameron and his argument is that young people were being locked out of the housing market and older people were worried about the demands of healthcare.

The foundation’s Intergenerational Commission report calls for an NHS ‘levy’ of £2.3bn paid for by increased national insurance contributions by those over the age of 65.

It says that all young people should receive a £10,000 windfall at the age of 25 to help pay for a deposit on a home, start a business or improve their education or skills.

My advice to Lord Willetts is to go away, have another think and stop picking on pensioners.

It seems to be open season on older people thanks to some fallacies about their lifestyles that have somehow morphed into fact.

The impression that some media outlets would have you believe is that pensioners are living high on the hog thanks to generous index-linked final salary pension schemes.

Pensioners, so the story goes, belong to the only identifiable group with disposable income. They own their own homes, run nice cars, go out for restaurant meals and enjoy long foreign holidays while the poor Millennials are struggling to make ends meet and will never get to own their own home.

Pensioners, apparently, lived through a time of full employment and are reaping the benefits the young will simply never get to enjoy.

But let’s just rewind shall we. Did pensioners really have it easy?

If you were born in the late 1940s, you will have lived – and worked – through six recessions including 1956, 1961, the mid-1970s, the early 1980s, the early 1990s and of course the great recession caused by the banking crisis in 2004.

If you were looking to buy a house in the 1970s or 80s, there was every chance you would have to scape together a deposit of 20 per cent or more before a building society would even look at your application.

Then if you were ‘lucky’ enough to actually get a mortgage there was every likelihood you were paying an interest rate somewhere between 10 and 16 per cent (for those of you who have only known post-2008 interest rates, that is not a misprint. Can you just imagine the chaos mortgage rates of 16 per cent would cause today?) And that ‘lucky’ pensioner generation also had to live through times when the rate of inflation touched 25 per cent and unemployment was almost 12 per cent.

Doesn’t seem like a lucky generation to me.

Then we come to the way the government has shamefully treated women born in the 1950s, raising the age at which women can claim the state pension from 60 to 65 or more almost without notice.

While I agree it is right men and women should retire at the same age, this particular group of women has been presented with a problem not of their own making. There was simply no attempt to ‘grandfather in’ the new rules.

So yet again, the current pensioner generation has been badly treated.

If Lord Willetts really believes the ‘contract between young and old has broken down’ and young people are going to become angry, just think of the response from old people when they see their tax bills going up and £10,000 handouts being given to 20-somethings.

I’m getting angry just thinking about it.

I don’t want to get all political here but I suspect under a Conservative government, Lord Willets’ scheme is a non-starter.

I wonder just which Tory prime minister is prepared to risk the wrath of one of its key demographics with a policy such as this. My guess is not the current one.

Do you agree with giving £10,000 to 25-year-olds and taxing the over-65s? Email your views to

By our columnist The Fly in the Ointment