Headlines: September 22nd, 2009

As the party conference season starts up, Counsel and Care, the national charity working with older people has reminded politicians of the messages from VotingAge, an older people’s manifesto, published earlier this year.

VotingAge was a consultation run by Counsel and Care, together with a leadership group made up mostly of older people, to identify the issues that affect older people’s lives, and seek pledges from all three parties that the particular needs of older people will be in their general election manifestos.

Older people who attended the events and who responded to the VotingAge consultation paper expressed their concerns around key issues such as poverty, age discrimination, a breakdown between the generations, and the lack of involvement and inclusion of older people.

The manifesto includes securing a commitment that the elderly should feel they are included and their wishes are taken into consideration. Poverty itself needs to be redefined, so that those on the borderline can access benefits. And older people should not have to choose between basic amenities such as fuel and food because of a lack of funds.

Solutions put forward by people involved in the consultation include: improving pensions by ring-fencing tax monies and allowing those receiving the State Pension to also receive the Carer’s Allowance. There is also a call for a Minister or Commissioner for older people and an Ombudsman for age related complaints.