Prue Leith: My generation 'swindled' the young so we should try to help them

Anita Singh
Prue Leith speaking to Saga magazine - courtesy of Saga magazine

Prue Leith, the Great British Bake Off judge, has admitted her generation "swindled” the young and said it is only right they make up for it.

The 77-year-old cook said parents should be ‘the bank of mum and dad’ adding that ‘if you can help your children, you do’. Leith said she told her children, Danny and Li-Da: “Don’t take a student loan – having a loan is desperate. If you need money, come to the bank of mum and dad.”

In an interview with Saga magazine, she said people of her age were “unbelievably lucky. Not only did we make a lot of cash but we had things like pension holidays, when companies thought they didn’t have to pay in because there was so much money in the pot.

“Then [the younger] generation comes along and there’s nothing. You’ve been swindled by your parents’ generation. It means that if you can help your children, you do – but there’s an awful lot of people who can’t.”

Unlike Leith, fellow celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay appears to want his children to stand on their own feet after disclosing that his offspring fly economy on family holidays while he and his wife fly first class.

Sting and Nigella Lawson have also spoken about not wanting to spoil their children by leaving them vast inheritances.

Nigella Lawson, daughter of former Conservative chancellor Lord Lawson, said she would "not be leaving a penny" of her multi-million pound fortune to her two children.

Sting, who is though to be worth £180m, said he did not want to leave his three sons and three daughters with "trust funds that are albatrosses round their necks".

Gordon Ramsay with wife Tana Ramsay and family 2012 Teen Choice Awards, Los Angeles Credit: REX/Shutterstock

He stressed that he wanted them to work and said that there would not be a huge fortune left for his children, because he and wife Trudie Styler spend "what comes in".

According to Land Registry data, the average price of a house in England has increased by neary 290 per cent between 1995 and 2016, from £67,000 to £232,000.

And the average first-time buyer deposit has more than doubled over the past decade from £15,168 in 2006 to a hefty £32,321 in 2016, according to research from Halifax.

The Social Mobility Commission reports that the number of first-time buyers given financial help to get on the property ladder by their parents has risen by 20 per cent in the past seven years.

It is predicted that by 2029 40 per cent of first-time buyers will be backed by their parents.

Discussing other differences in attitudes between her generation and younger families, Leith also advocated a more relaxed approach to parenting, stressing that parents should have their own lives too.

She said: "I am very in favour of children having a nap after lunch because then they’re not whiney and grizzly by six o’clock.

"But I don’t think it really matters a toss how you bring children up – as long as they’re loved, they’ll be fine. "It’s just hell for the parents.

"Rayne [Prue’s first husband] and I had the children in bed by seven so we could have a drink! Our priority was to have a life – not just be running after children all the time."

Nigella Lawson, daughter of former Conservative chancellor Lord Lawson Credit:  Geoff Pugh for the Telegraph

Leith will join Sandi Toksvig, Noel Fielding and Paul Hollywood for the eighth series of Great British Bake Off, which begins on Channel 4 in September.

Earlier this month it was announced that episodes in the new series would run for 75 minutes as fans feared 15 minute adverts would eat into the show, leaving it shorter than the BBC version.

The full interview appears in the May issue of Saga magazine, available online at saga.co.uk/magazine.

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