The government should appoint a Minister for Older People to help tackle the complex issues many older people face.
We have government Ministers for Women and Equalities, for disabled people and for loneliness, but we have no Minister for older people.
15.3 million people are aged over 60 in this country. By 2035, 29% of people will be over 60, and nearly one in five people currently in the UK will live to see their 100th birthday. Around 60% of older people agree that age discrimination exists in the daily lives of older people.
Yet we have no dedicated Minister who is able to work on the many complex and serious issues faced by the older population.
We’re making progress on these issues here in the north west. Last month Greater Manchester became the UK’s first age-friendly City Region as recognised by the World Health Organisation, and the cross-party older people’s champions network here in the region works hard to fight for the interests of older people and is campaigning for the appointment of a Minister for Older People.
But nationally we could do far more to join up policy and address the complex issues affecting many older people. Age UK have said that they would like to see a cross-cutting unit that could work across government departments, and the appointment of a Minister for Older People would surely be the best way to help achieve that.
We live in an ageing society, and the impact and implications for us all will be immense.
The creation of the role of an older people’s Minister is an idea whose time has come.