The Ageing Society

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Rosie believes that part of the Government’s strategy should be to tackle discrimination, so that the 70 year old who is still full of energy can continue to work, re-train, volunteer or contribute as an active member of the community. 

Ageing Strategy – Building a Society for All Ages

On the 13th July 2009 the Government launched a strategy “Building a Society for All Ages”, to help Britain prepare for our ageing society. The strategy, follows the Government’s major reforms to respond to demographic change including the Turner reforms to the Pension system, the measures to outlaw age discrimination in the new Equality Bill, and the new Care and Support Green Paper; and sets out new proposals including:

• The launch of an interactive one stop shop for helping people plan ahead from 2010. This will help people in mid-life to make decisions on financial, health, careers and other issues;

• The new Active at 60 package will provide people with information about their entitlements and opportunities – helping them to stay active and involved in their later life.

• Building on the National Insurance measures taken in the budget to help those caring for grandchildren, a summit will take place in the autumn to explore the changing role of grandparents more widely and what more we can do to support them in maintaining strong relationships with their grandchildren after parental separation and divorce;

• To support all carers the Government are enabling them to take up training opportunities through Jobcentre Plus, with £38 million to enable advisors to specifically address their needs.

Further measures include:

Engaging with work and the economy - As part of helping the economy respond to an ageing society, a review of the Default Retirement Age (DRA) will be brought forward to take place next year. Currently employers can require all staff to retire at 65 regardless of their circumstances. The majority of people retire before 65, however 1.3m people choose to work beyond state pension age, and many more say they would work past 65 if their employer permitted it.

In addition to providing advice to businesses on employing older workers, and information to people who wish to continue working on the options available to them, the Government will also promote flexible opportunities in teaching, tutoring and for 50+ self-employment, and test ways of preventing people having to leave work because of ill-health. The Age Positive initiative will continue to raise awareness of training opportunities and help to improve employer attitudes to older workers.

Better public services for later life - The Government’s Care and Support Green Paper also sets out a new vision for the future of social care and support, explain how services will change to deliver the vision, and suggest options for a fairer and more sustainable funding system.

It is more than just health services; there will be a range of different services that need to be appropriate for everyone, regardless of age. A Good Place to Grow Old Programme will be developed with a national agreement to promote the importance of ageing issues at a local level, and provide funding to test new and innovative approaches to delivering services for older people.

Building communities for all ages - People in later life often provide the lifeblood of communities, through volunteering, caring and by playing an active role in neighbourhood life. The Government want to make the most of this strength so our £5.5 million Generations Together programme will fund 12 intergenerational projects across the country to break down barriers and challenge negative stereotypes.

Being able to stay active also depends on staying mobile so we will help people continue driving by providing refresher driving training in our driving for life programme and for those who are unable to stay behind the wheel there will be help for people to make the most of the public transport network.

Rosie Winterton MP for Doncaster Central
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