Discounted admission tickets for museums and tourist attractions are a common perk for seniors the world over, however a charity in the UK has argued that offering cheaper rates for pensioners is actually unfair to younger generations.
For its report titled Baby-boomer Concessions: How ticket prices for a wealthier generation reinforce unfairness, the thinktank looked at 35 of the UK’s biggest tourists attractions, including Stonehenge, Canterbury Cathedral and Edinburgh Zoo.
The findings revealed that while all of the attractions offered discounted admission prices for those over the age of 60, except for RHS sites, only four of the sites had raised the age threshold of discounted tickets to 65, in accordance with the state pension age.
“In the past, concessions were used to help poorer older people to be able to afford to participate in society’s cultural life, but our findings show that these are increasingly bungs to wealthy baby boomers,” said report author Chloe Wall.
“At the very least these attractions should remove these concessions for those below SPA and introduce a student discount,” she added.
“Such unfair pricing practice sends a damaging message to young people that they are simply less valued and that cultural attractions are only for older people.”
In stark contrast, just one of the attractions, the Royal Shakespeare and Swan theatres in Stratford-Upon-Avon, offered a young person’s discount. While 27 of the 35 offered student discount prices, as long as a valid card could be produced as evidence, while seniors rarely have to prove their eligibility for age-related discounts.
Edinburgh Castle, the National War Museum in Edinburgh, Stirling Castle and Urquhart Castle all offered a concessionary price for the over-60s, but no discount at all for students or young people.
Angus Hanton, the co-founder of IF, told The Guardian: “It is also quite possible that this discriminatory, age-based pricing is unlawful.”
The authors of the report analysed the cost of tickets against disposable income across different generations and found that on average young people would spend 12 per cent of their weekly disposable income on a ticket, while it would set back people over 60, who enjoy free travel on public transport, just 5.6 per cent of their weekly disposable income for the same ticket.