Fifty days in for the new government, and the UK’s over 50s are seeing little sign that their 44% share of the vote is yielding 44% of the Cameron administration’s attention.
Emma Soames, editor-at-large of Saga magazine, says that while government is moving fast in some areas, it’s not moving anything like as quickly as it should to address the issues facing people who, in some cases, are quite literally running out of time.
“Forty four per cent of the voting age population is aged over 50; 94% of those 21 million over 50s claimed to have voted, according to independent research we commissioned, but have we had 44% of the government’s attention and interest so far? Far from it – we estimate it’s more like 15% of the coalition’s time and attention,” said Emma Soames.
“The pre-election Saga Manifesto, representing the views of the country’s over 50s with 14,000 survey participants, identified six key areas older people wanted addressing.
“The government’s attention to fairer finance – how older people will deal with both day-to-day expenses and retirement finance - I’d rate as two out of ten, to abolishing ageism one out of ten, age balance in Parliament zero out of ten, support for carers three out of ten, intelligent retirement one out of ten and safer streets two out of ten – an average of 1.5 out of ten for issues important to the over 50s.
“Yes, there are big issues to tackle with regard to the economy and our armed forces abroad, but in other areas they’re tackling issues in the wrong order.
“Benefits issues, big initiatives and ideas relating availability for work are all well and good, but the people involved are not in danger of dropping dead before they’re sorted out as would be the case for the very old and infirm.
“Older people in their end of life phase, especially those providing or receiving care, are on a defined time line: they’re old, they’re sick, they’re going to die – they’re running out of time.
“The closest we’ve seen to decisive action is the introduction of an eight-PCT personal health budget pilot; everything else is up for review or subject to a commission: care funding, crime, pensions.”
Emma Soames, editor-at-large, was editor of Saga Magazine from 2002-2008. Previously she edited the Telegraph Magazine for seven years and before that was editor of ES Magazine, Tatler and the Literary Review.
For more information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529.