Mind The (£10) Gap

Posted in: Research Last updated: 16 Jul 2007

The ten pound note has seen the British public through one hundred and seventy four years1 of spending, but its value today is widely debated across the age groups.

New research from Engage Mutual has unveiled a ‘generation gap’ in what’s seen to be the worth of a tenner, with over 50s grandparents being the sticklers for spending.

At a time when Britain is experiencing a growing £27billion2 savings gap, and young people are faced with the prospect of having to pay ten times their salary3 for a home, their parents’ generation are begrudging £10 for a bottle of wine.

As part of its ongoing research into different generations’ attitudes to finances, Engage Mutual surveyed a sample of over 2,000 people asking them what items they would consider to be a rip off or too expensive at £10.

Key findings

More than two in three grandparents (65%) think parting with their ten pounds for a bottle of wine is a rip off, when almost one in two of under 25s with no children (45%) wouldn’t bat an eyelid.

Although older people (grandparents over 50) find spending ten pounds on things like cinema tickets (67%) and knickers (81%) excessive, they are willing to pay £10 more freely for items such as baby outfits (only 14% of this age group think it is a rip off for £10), local train tickets (48%) and a joint of meat (27%), whereas younger generations consider these to be of a rip off (18%, 69% and 40% respectively).

Nearly one in two grandparents over 50 years old (45%) classify T-shirts as a rip off for £10, but the more fashion conscious under 25s are in disagreement with only 13% ranking it as too expensive.

Karl Elliott, 3GB spokesperson for engage Mutual said:

“Inflation and decimalisation have caused considerable changes to the way money is perceived across generations. These varying perceptions of money may have a considerable impact on family finances, particularly when it comes to different generations’ attitudes to spending and saving. If just 10 per cent of the population put aside just £10 each month, then the British population would be squirreling away £720 million each year into savings.”

“It is important that all family members save as much as possible for the future. Engage are committed to providing simple financial savings for all family members allowing them to save what they can afford to on a regular basis, helping them to achieve a secure financial future.”

Who thinks paying £10 too much?

 Paying £10 for a:  Under 25 (no children)  Parents   Grandparents
 Bottle of wine  45%  56%  65%
 Round of drinks  14%  17%  24%
 bunch of flowers  42%  38%  37%
 Takeaway pizza  39%  39%  58%
 Pair of knickers  68%  73%  81%
 joint of meat  40%  34%   27%


Price comparison over the generations:

 Item  1955  1974  1990  2006
 Litre of petrol  5p  11.4p  45p  85p
 Pint of beer  9.5p  22.1p  £1.09  £2.55
 20 cigarettes  17.9p  32p  £1.64  £4.83
 Sliced white bread  3.1p  13.9p  50p  85p
 Pint of milk  2.9p  4.5p  31p  36p


Source: Daily Express 26th January 2007


1 According to ABI figures 2002 www.abi.org.uk

2 www.bignell.co.uk accessed 26th June 2007

3 National Housing & Planning Advice Unit, The Times, 7 June 2007

This research was undertaken by YouGov on behalf of engage Mutual Assurance. The survey was conducted between 30 April – 2 May 2007 across a representative GB sample of 2,271