The Saga Generation will have a decisive influence on the outcome of the coming General Election. Saga has used its unique insight into this demographic and created a Saga Generation manifesto which is being presented to the leaders of the UK’s main political parties.
Propensity to vote rises with age – 63% of the over 55s say they are certain to vote compared with just 21% of those aged 18-24 or 37% of those aged 25-34. Whilst a separate poll of 14,000 Saga customers showed 80% saying they were certain to vote. So for the first time the Saga Generation is likely to be the majority of adults going to the polling booths come the General Election.
Emma Soames, Editor at Large of Saga Magazine comments:
“Issues that concern the Saga Generation are varied, such as meaty public policy issues like supporting family carers and making retirement more flexible. We want this to be more akin to taking a stroll down to the beach, rather than falling off a cliff. Older people want to see a fairer and safer society for all.
They also rail against ageism they see in the BBC and the health service and they also identify the need for more Parliamentarians to have experience of life - rather than just be fresh-faced ‘professional’ politicians.
What cannot be hidden is that they are active citizens – they may no longer man the barricades as they might have done in the 60s – but they will vote in their millions. Woe betide any political party that ignores them.”
The Saga Generation Manifesto provides a unique insight into the needs and concerns of this important group of voters. There are six main themes.
· Basic rate taxation of interest should be abolished as too many older people do not reclaim overpaid tax.
· A flat rate state pension of £130 per week for all UK residents, without means testing – to make savings pay and reduce complex means tested benefits.
· Maintain current benefits and allowances targeting older people (such as bus passes).
Age discrimination is rife in employment, in the media, in politics, and in the NHS, so the Saga Generation wants:
· Ban on age discrimination in the health service.
· NICE guidelines to take into account benefits to society (including carers) of drugs that help the elderly – e.g. medication for Alzheimer’s.
· BBC Charter amendment to ensure a balanced portrayal of older people and presenters.
Support for carers
· The £6 billion gap in care funding to be plugged by bearing down on NHS administration.
· Investment allowing people to stay in their own home for longer
· Better quality of care through better inspections and training for care workers.
· More practical support for family carers and more funding for respite care to preserve the health of carers.
· More research into the causes of dementia, which is the main driver of care needs.
· Immediately end the default compulsory retirement age.
· Allow a phased flexible approach – so retirement is staged and negotiated between employer/employee.
· Overcome age discrimination in employment of older people by freeing employers from paying National Insurance when they take on older staff.
· Employment and other services for the elderly to be encouraged not outlawed.
Making Parliament reflect the population
· Political parties should collect and publish data on the age profile of their prospective candidates and MPs.
· There should be a better balance of people entering Parliament with more older people with experience of business and life in general.
Better and safer streets
· We want to see a genuine crackdown on binge drinking with staged closing of pubs, clubs and bars, and severe penalties for licensed premises that do nothing to discourage binge drinking.
· More visible policing with for example the police walking the streets.
· A no-tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour.
To read the manifesto in full please click here
Using a mix of reader feedback from Saga Magazine, contributions to SagaZone.co.uk (the over 50s social networking site) and extensive research using the Saga Populus Panel (the largest monthly poll of over 50s opinion). Data mainly derived from Saga/Populus on-line poll of 14,178 people aged 50 and over carried out between 17th and 22nd December 2009 and 9,441 people carried out between 11th and 21st September 2009. Comparative voting propensity data from a Populus poll of a random sample of 1,505 adults aged 18+ by telephone between 4th and 6th December 2009. Interviews conducted across the country and the results weighted to be representative of all adults.
For more information, please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529