It’s selfish to hold on to your house in later life, according to one journalist.

The BBC’s former economics editor Robert Peston says that older people should downsize to make way for young families facing housing shortages.

Speaking at Cheltenham Literary Festival, Peston – who is reportedly about to scoop a salary of £400,000 as he moves to head up ITV’s politics team – said one of his “great anxieties” as a parent is the struggle his two sons may face getting on the housing ladder.

He suggested that parents should sell their homes, downsize and use the money to help their children to buy their own first property.

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Peston, 55, called on people his age to be "less selfish" and urged older people to "start giving something back to the younger generation."

He said: "We haven't got enough affordable housing, particularly in the south. I think this is one of the great social scandals of our age.
"I've got a couple of kids, and if you're a parent this is one of the great anxieties.

"Our generation – it's a terrible thing to say, but – we've had it all and we also f***** up the economy."

He went on to say: "We've got to – on a personal level – move out of our big houses and somehow create the equity to pass on to the next generation.

House keys given to child

"Of course, if you get to my age, you get set in your ways and you want to stay where you are.

"But actually, then you have the need for the next generation, and you think: well, it's time to pass something on."

Peston’s wife, the novelist Sian Busby, died in 2012 aged 51, five years after being diagnosed with lung cancer.

They married in 1996 and had a son Maximillian a year later. Simon, Busby's son from her first marriage, was born in 1985.

Would you sell your large house to help your children or other younger people facing housing problems? Let us know in the Comments below.