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28 May 2024

In the press: Back older voters to win election

Article by Johnathan Walker, Deputy Political Editor
Published Sun 26th May via express.co.uk

Campaigners are calling on both major parties to promise a champion for older people in their general election manifestos.

Backing a Commissioner for Older People and Ageing would help parties win the “grey vote”, pressure groups say.

The Centre for Ageing Better, Age UK, Independent Age and the National Pensioners’ Convention told party leaders that a Commissioner is needed to ensure the next government takes the needs of the elderly into account.

The call was also included in the Later Life Ambitions manifesto launched in Parliament by Eurovision legend Sandie Shaw. The role would apply to England, with similar posts already in place in Wales and Northern Ireland.

Dr Carole Easton OBE, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “As political parties will spend the next six weeks trying to convince voters they have the policies to make this country better, we really feel that creating a Commissioner for Older People and Ageing is a manifesto promise all parties can commit to.”

Joanna Elson CBE, Chief Executive of financial hardship charity Independent Age, said: “It has never been more important for people in later life, who often tell us they feel invisible and like their views are ignored, to have an independent champion at the heart of government who can ensure that none of us are left out of the conversation as we age.”

Campaigners say a dedicated champion should have official powers to investigate issues affecting older people and challenge age-based discrimination.

They would also offer advice on government policy and legislation.

A House of Commons committee endorsed the idea days before Parliament broke up for the general election. Caroline Nokes, Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, said the case for such a role was “overwhelming”.

Holding an inquiry this year, the Committee heard that age discrimination is still widespread and considered acceptable by many people.

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