But there is another divide that is seldom talked about, though it has far greater implications for future Britain: young versus old. Politicians dare not mention it and voters may bury their heads in the sand, but the impact of our ageing population has represented a seismic transfer of wealth from the young to the old over the past few decades, and our system as it stands is unsustainable.

Today, with the working-age population being asked to make unprecedented sacrifices - not just to their civil liberties but to their financial stability - to protect their vulnerable elders from the coronavirus pandemic, a conversation is finally beginning about the responsibilities the generations owe to each other.

And to do that, we need to look at the landscape before coronavirus. From state pensions to housing wealth, the board has increasingly become tilted from young towards old.

The triple-locked state pension makes up almost 20 per cent of all central government spending - equal to the proportion that goes towards our beloved NHS. Rising life expectancy, while immensely positive, has meant that people are now living decades past retirement age.

As a result, the proportion of workers compared to retirees has shifted dramatically. In 1976 there were 4.3 working-age adults for every pensioner, in 2016 there were 3.5, and by 2046, it is projected that there will be just 2.3.

By 2046 it is estimated that over-65s will make up a quarter of the UK population. Clearly their needs - from pensions to health to social care - must be met, but the pool of tax-paying workers is dwindling in comparison.

Traditionally, government strategy has been to make cuts to public services elsewhere or increase the tax burden on those workers. But the latter has become increasingly unviable as housing costs for younger generations have shot up. According to the Resolution Foundation, one third of all millennials will never be able to buy their own home. The age of the average first-time buyer has risen from 23 in 1960 to 30 today.

Meanwhile, house price rises have concentrated wealth in the hands of those who were fortunate enough to buy early: over-50s hold 75 per cent of all Britain’s housing wealth, while over-65s hold 43 per cent.

When Theresa May suggested in the 2017 election campaign that those with property should use that resource to fund some of their own social care, she was vilified. Even though the policy would not have required a social care recipient’s home to be sold until after their death, the concept was derailed as being unfair.

This insistence that social care must be entirely state-funded is an anomaly in how the government meets individuals’ needs. Working parents, for example, are required to shoulder the extortionate burden of childcare with little help from the state, and few argue that it is unfair to ask them to do so.

Moreover, when one considers the picture more holistically, the idea of unlimited universal state-funded social care looks both absurd and unsustainable. While pensioner poverty is very real, it is not more concentrated than in the population in general. Pensioner households are, on average, £20 a week better off than working-age households. This cohort receives two fifths of NHS spending, the aforementioned state pension, and a range of other benefits, from free travel to the winter fuel allowance.

Clearly, some pensioners are in need of support. But many more enjoy not only housing wealth, but defined-benefit private pensions that will keep them far more comfortable than a family on minimum wage, who currently fund seniors’ benefits.

This is an awkward discussion, but now that the measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic have brought the dilemma out into the open, the next decade is likely to see a seismic shift in how we view three major public policy areas: the retirement age, housing wealth, and the funding of social care.

Of course, technology has a key role: in lowering the cost of social care (with smart “Internet of Things” gadgets that can enable people to live independently for longer), and in building more homes at the scale and speed necessary to ease housing costs for younger people. Both these areas offer lucrative potential for any savvy investor over the next 10 years.

But the challenge of an ageing population and the resulting demographic inequality is an issue for all businesses, not just those in related sectors. And they should be prepared.

The first big change is likely to be on the concept of “retirement”. The state pension age has barely risen since being introduced in 1946, while those with private pensions are permitted to access their pots from the age of 55 - 25 years below the average life expectancy. Put simply, people are going to be expected to work for longer.

This is not so much a challenge as an opportunity. PwC research published in 2018 found that the UK could increase GDP by £180bn a year by keeping more over-55s in work. With businesses forever complaining of a skills gap, this cohort and those above them represent a tremendous resource.

There are obviously physical considerations about the type of work that seniors should be encouraged to do, but their unique potential should not be underestimated. With their extensive workplace experience, people-facing roles are an obvious place to start.

To take one example, overseas call centres in places like Bangalore are widely disliked. So what if forward-thinking companies offered them to would-be UK pensioners? This non-manual, people-centric work is straightforward in terms of training, and such a move would not only shorten supply chains and bring jobs back to Britain, but would also help address the issue of loneliness.

With the right training programmes, businesses could be far more ambitious. And we already have the framework for reskilling people later in life. While the apprenticeship levy is generally considered a scheme for young people, it has the potential to be adapted to enable late-stage career shifts.

By being in work for longer, this age group will not only be contributing to the tax shortfall (exacerbated by the Covid-19 measures), but will benefit by staying actively involved in the economy and society for longer.

Businesses should start preparing now, reviewing their recruitment and training strategies and thinking flexibly about how to integrate a new type of candidate into their workforces.

Second, on housing, the calls for those with property wealth to contribute more are only going to increase. Working-age renters are not going to fund the lifestyles of elderly homeowners forever. Some kind of land tax is almost inevitable, as are restrictions on pension benefits for those with housing wealth.

If clinging to housing wealth becomes less attractive, people will look for alternative investments. Property is an illiquid, long-term investment - so businesses should be thinking about what other areas match that description.

ESG investments have not only shown their ability to weather crises, but enable people prepared to invest long-term (as they do with property) to fund the kind of technologies needed to fight the climate crisis. Is breaking our national obsession with property wealth the key to unlocking the much-cited “green finance” revolution?

Alternatively, could there be opportunities to invest in houses in different ways, for example via proptech companies that can 3D-print homes on a mass scale?

The main opportunity here is for financial services companies to work out why people want to keep their wealth tied up in their homes even when those homes no longer suit them to live in, and develop options that meet those needs once housing investment becomes less attractive.

Finally, on social care, a range of innovative new finance products will be necessary. Even if May’s exact policy does not resurface, a utopian universal social care system is even less likely after the economic impact of the coronavirus, meaning people will be compelled to make their own arrangements.

Part of this will include housing wealth. The current equity release model is clumsy, controversial, and poorly understood. There is a gap in the market for something better.

But it also needs to go further. Just as the UK has a vibrant private pensions industry, it would be prescient for financial services firms to design products to fund an individual’s social care. In 10 years’ time, such products will be considered commonplace.

This has the potential to be a game-changer for all businesses committed to staff wellbeing. “Social care insurance” could become a standard employee benefit, just like health insurance or a generous pensions scheme. Its business value lies in recruitment and retention. Star employees are far less likely to consider leaving a company that was helping to provide for them at their most vulnerable moments.

But there is wider value too, in terms of branding and business perception. Right now, the social responsibility of private corporations is under the microscope. Do not expect this to revert post-coronavirus.

As the retirement model shifts, so will the perception of the role of the employer. Auto-enrolment for pensions, which came into force for all organisations in 2018, was the first stage. The next, which we will see play out throughout the 2020s, will see more government and societal pressure put on employers to support their staff throughout their working lives and beyond.

Coronavirus has ensured that intergenerational inequality will become this decade’s hot-button issue. The government will need to figure out how to transfer wealth back down to the young, and business has a crucial role to play in smoothing that transition. Fundamentally, we need a new covenant between the generations. One silver lining to this crisis may be that a conversation the nation has been kicking down the road may at last be possible.