Minister for Older People

Today I went to support the Anchor Grey Pride Campaign in Parliament, aimed at having a designated Minister for Older People. I’ve already signed an Early Day Motion calling for the same thing.

What I found staggering was that today more people are over 65 than under 60, and in forty to fifty years half a million people will be over 100: yet there isn’t any – or any plans – to have a person specifically representing their needs in government.

The people I spoke to today were very interesting and raised valid arguments for a Minister for Older People. They need a port of call to raise concerns with – non of this being passed from one department to the next. There should be someone there coordinating departments – this would end up saving the Government huge amounts of money. Finally, someone should be there to ask the Chancellor for money, and to fight their corner when needs be. If we can have a Minister for Equalities, a Minister for Women, and a Minister for Pubs, then we can surely have a Minister for Older People.

This is not an issue that I think anyone should let rest, and I personally will be bringing this up with the relevant Ministers.

10 responses to “Minister for Older People

  1. Yes it could be a sensible improvement, but what is of more concern is that the state pension and pension credit are far below the poverty level and despite the improved linking for increases, will never reach the poverty level. All of this is in the circumstances where inflation for pensioners is far higher than that for the population at large because we are at home more than others during the winter with the consequences of higher fuel bills.
    On top of this, the temporary £50 increase in the winter fuel allowance has been stopped now.

  2. Sam

    Once the citizens pension comes in (Lib Dem manifesto commitment) every pensioner will get more than the minimum income guarantee. For pensioners on pension credit the cold weather payments have been permanently increased to £25 a week permanently and an additional £120 has gone to pensioners on pension credit to help with increasing bills. Given that many people haven’t had any pay rise, a 5.2% rise in the pension (and other benefits) is significantly better than the 75p rise that Gordon Brown gave to pensioners in a much better economic climate.

    John

    • However….. charges for many services that poorer older people rely on are rising, as is the age at which concessions are available.
      For example local transport services are being cut, social care charges raised, libraries, community centres closed, etc, etc.

      The impact of welfare cuts on younger people and those over 50 but below SPA will hit home hard in poor areas such as south Manchester. The combination of the new work assessment, housing benefit changees and so on are very worrying.

  3. We have a minister for pubs? We have a minister for women, with an equalities minister sitting right there? The Minister for Pubs sounds like a waste of time, but surely the women’s minister can be folded into the equalities minister.

    The interesting thing about the proposal for a minister for older people is that our society is already top-heavy with baby boomers. Every minister is a minister for older people, as older people are the most heavily represented demographic of all. Japan, a nation which had had a top-heavy society for some time now and is frequently cited as the most elder-friendly nation around, has no minister for senior citizens. I do not think that a minister to represent elderly people is going to tip the balance in anyone’s favour more than demographic change.

    My generation is in the minority and is facing unique problems like mass unemployment, alcohol related deaths, and an inability to resolve lifeworld ethics with a gnawing sense of nihilism, but I don’t believe that means the government must institute a Minister for the Young: the Department of Education seems to be doing well enough, much as the Pensions Secretary knows who his brief involves.

    The Ministers for Health and Welfare deal with their briefs regardless of what generation people are in. They are concerned with the welfare of everyone they are responsible for, young and old, and they’ve got a Minister for Equalities to make sure of it. We are either one nation under one rule or none at all.

  4. Great, more dribbling, ineffective, nonsense. How anyone could take an appeal, so clearly designed to mawkishly ingratiate oneself with the public, as some kind of moralistic hero, is unbelievable. This is a classic manoeuvre for someone who has clearly failed to make their presence felt. It shall be pitiable when this idea is completely overlooked or at best dismissed with vague amusement.

  5. Steve Webb, Lib Dem Pensions minister has lead on the ageing agenda and the work is led by an inter-ministerial group led by the DWP. So there is a lead. One thing that this government hasn’t done yet is publish a follow up to Labour’s Opportunity Age strategy.

    Toby, I think you are mistaken. Look at the level of cuts to many basic services and you’ll see that this government isn’t too kind to the baby boomers that rely on state support of one sort of another. Remember too that the UK has amongst the highest levels of pensioner poverty in the EU and those living in our poorer areas face significant challenges. As for Japan there is a range of reasons why it has the longest life expectancy in the world, but the picture you paint is misleading. The work done by government and academics into creating good old age is way ahead of us in the UK.

    There is plenty to do for all ages, but John is right, there needs to be a government minister with responsiblility for ageing.

  6. What we really need is a minister for the middle aged who puts out public information films to reassure people that the niggling pain in their elbow isn’t anytning to see the doctor about.
    And to tell the nation’s daughters that they’re not going out dressed like that.

  7. What we really need is a minister for the middle aged who puts out public information films to reassure people that the niggling pain in their elbow isn’t anything to see the doctor about.
    And to tell the nation’s daughters that they’re not going out dressed like that.

  8. “What I found staggering was that today more people are over 65 than under 60”.
    According to this report for parliament there are 10 million people over 65 in the UK – roughly 1-in-6. Are you sure that the information given you by the Anchor Grey Pride Campaign is correct?! There would have to be 40 million people in the 60 – 65 age bracket! http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/key-issues-for-the-new-parliament/value-for-money-in-public-services/the-ageing-population/

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