I recently name-checked James Sefton, professor of economics at London’s Imperial College. He can’t understand why young people aren’t protesting about “increasingly subsidising” the old. Following further work on generational wealth accounts however, Professor Sefton appears to have rolled back a little.

Nevertheless, his recent conclusions led to some eye-catching headlines. “OK Boomer, You’re More Generous Than We Thought” being one. Professor Sefton now estimates around £100billion a year flows downward through the generations. He concludes, “The older generation care and they pass on a significant amount.” Yet, it’s understandable why those born in the 90s and early 10s still believe older generations are hoarding their wealth.

As a boomer, I agree with the Professor. Well, I would, wouldn’t I? Many however, think otherwise. Life peer David Willetts for example. He is author of The Pinch: How Baby Boomers Stole Their Children’s Future and How They Can Give It Back. Terminology such as “stealing,” might boost sales, but is rarely helpful. In the same way as current pejorative terms such as gammons and snowflakes only increase a generational gap that is already too wide.

Of course, there’s always been a generation gap. Since time immemorial, the young have irritated the old and vice versa. My incompetence with Google Maps drives my granddaughter round the bend, usually the wrong bend. But progress depends on generations seeing things differently and responding with new ideas and approaches. While there are positives, some aspects of the current gap are worrying. If allowed to fester, they’ll add fuel to already simmering inter-generational animosity and conflict. Let’s face it, there’s no shortage of potential battlefields.

Housing is at the very top of the list. Owning one’s own home has become ever more of a challenge for the young and even the not so young. Around 10% of those born in the 1960s live in relatively expensive and less secure private rentals. That percentage is likely to increase. The gig economy and zero-hour contracts make it increasingly difficult for many youngsters to save for a deposit or secure a mortgage.

Then there’s their general disillusionment with pensions. In our family we have someone who, despite a good accountancy degree, has chosen to disappear off the radar. He’s fortunate to live rent free courtesy of a relative, but pays neither tax nor NI. As far as “the system” goes, he doesn’t exist, his rationale being, there’s no point in paying in, as it’s unlikely there will be a state pension or an NHS when he needs them.

Admittedly, he’s an extreme case, but he’s not alone. The young have had enough of broken promises. Whatever happened to the social contract that promised them that, by working hard and paying their taxes today, they’ll have jam tomorrow? To many, the prospect of a roof over their heads, high quality education and health care, and a decent pension seems like an elaborate con. Society hasn’t kept its side of the bargain, why should they keep theirs? It’s little wonder they are especially cynical and mistrustful of politics and politicians.

Most gave up on the Tories long ago. Yet, there’s little sign they’re enthused by the lack of vision and ambition offered by Keir Starmer’s “Tory Lite.” He justifies the roll-back on university tuition fees for example, because, “the financial situation has changed since 2019.” Well Attlee didn’t roll back on a million new homes and the NHS, because the financial situation had changed between 1939 and 1945.

The generational gap can only be narrowed by investing much more in the young. Especially in those who can’t draw on the bank of well-heeled parents and grandparents. Journalist Will Hutton has floated the innovative idea of a Baby Boomer Trust Fund in which 10% of our estates could be invested voluntarily in a sovereign fund, the income used to support young people, especially those in need.

Boomers will doubtless ask what’s in it for us. Perhaps the old Greek saying, “The old plant trees, knowing they will never sit in their shade,” provides a clue.