Let’s have a Minister for Older People who understands being older
August 22, 2011 Leave a comment
Anchor, England’s largest not-for-profit provider of care and housing is running a national campaign to petition the UK government to appoint a Minister for Older People.
Despite having a Minister for Women and another for Children and Families we have no government minister representing older people even though we make up 40% of voters.
Many governments around the world, including Ireland and Canada, have such a minister while both Wales and Northern Ireland have an Older People’s Commissioner.
At face value this seems a worthwhile campaign. As the number of older people increases a single minister could help ensure that the views and interests of the over 50s receive the attention they deserve.
However if such an appointment is made, it is vital that the post goes to someone with a genuine interest in and appreciation of the entire, diverse range of issues that relate to the 50 year or so time span that comprises “older”. Merely considering only the challenges of the elderly will not do. In addition, such things as pensions, caring responsibilities and continuing inherent age discrimination in the workplace are just a few of the key issues for those at the younger end of the “older” spectrum.
Allowing much-needed ongoing policies to be sabotaged by party politics will also not be helpful.
We also need someone who is older themselves (not difficult to find amongst government ministers) but who, for once, is prepared to talk about “us” and not “them”.
Visit http://www.gopetition.com/petition/44649.htmlto to sign Anchor’s petition.