Charities warn government over ageing population

Elderly woman's hands The charities backed calls for a cabinet minister to be appointed to represent elderly people's interests

Related Stories

Ministers should do more to prepare for the impact of an ageing population, a group of leading charities has warned.

A poll by care provider Anchor of 2,200 adults found more than three quarters (77%) said the government was not ready to cope with changing UK demographics.

The survey results prompted the Ready for Ageing Alliance to say that action now was "crucial for a happier old age for future generations".

The government insisted it had an ambitious programme for the elderly.

Some 76% of those polled also said they wanted a cabinet minister appointed to address the issue.

Jane Ashcroft, chief executive of Anchor, said: "We ask government to prove to the public that they can future-proof policy. 137,000 people signed Anchor's petition for a minister for older people.

"Government cannot bury its head in the sand on the issue."

George McNamara, head of policy and public affairs at the Alzheimer's Society, added: "By failing to prepare for the effect of an ageing population, we could be preparing to fail.

"While the government needs to plan for the impact of an ageing society, the public also needs to give more consideration to planning for their own old age.

"We ignore the challenge of an ageing population at our peril."

The survey came as Office for National Statistics figures showed there were 12,320 people aged over 100 in England and Wales in 2012 compared with just 2,560 three decades ago.

Centenarians in England and Wales

  • 1982: 2,560
  • 1992: 4,460
  • 2002: 7,090
  • 2012: 12,320

Source: ONS estimates

The number of people aged over 90 has tripled over a similar time.

The government said changes to pensions and public services meant people would be able to save for retirement and get excellent care when they needed it.

A spokesman said: "We want to make the UK one of the best places to grow old in and we have an ambitious programme to achieve this.

"We are making radical changes to our pension system so people can plan and save for a decent income in retirement.

"We are reforming our public services so that older people get excellent care and support when they need it and are enabled to live independently.

"It is vital to make the most of the skills and talents that everyone has to offer."

The Ready for Ageing Alliance comprises eight charities consisting of Age UK, Alzheimer's Society, Anchor, Carers UK, Centre for Policy on Ageing, Independent Age, International Longevity Centre UK and Joseph Rowntree Foundation.


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    Governments to do something for the long term good??

    As if.....have people not noticed that once in power (and running up to elections) they only do things to buy quick votes. Everything is short term simply for votes! And that's why.....I don't vote!

  • rate this

    Comment number 258.

    It's about time the Government started an investment fund from NI contributions. Start at a low percentage and withdrawals can only be any gain over RPI. The fund could then invest, receive interest.
    This would eventually grow to a fund that can service the pensions.
    It would put an end to who is paying who's pension .
    This is long term planning and would require cross party consensus.

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.


    Nice idea, £16ph, never going to happen though,

    Here is the argument, N.I is already 9.9% and basic rate tax is 20%, so instead we have a combined single tax, of 29.9% scraping N.I altogether, forcing company's to pay that, and then by reducing VAT to 10% people can still afford things, the missing 10% comes from the 9.9% basically 10% from wages, allowing people to save.

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    My parents currently look after my Grandmothers; in my view this is normal for a loving extended family. I shall do the same to my parents which is why I work hard, don't spend beyond my means and prepare for older age even though it means me not having all the latest gadgets and new cars. The problem is that not enough people think like this anymore and expect the state to cove the cost.

  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    Just watched Dads army and Del boy. It aged me considerably.

  • rate this

    Comment number 254.

    Note for the Editor. Please ask the technical dept to sort out the online video clips because none of them will play for more then 2 seconds.


  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    I hope people are aware that this same nonsense about an ageing population is also circulating round the globe e.g. Japan, India, et al.,

    which indicates this is part of an agenda.

    UK mortality levels well known for decades.

    Ageing is the subject of much scientific research.

    Honour your father and your mother,
    respect the aged,

    to hell with this new Bohemian philosophy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    We keep bleating on about the need for people to work longer. Doing what!
    No matter what age you are the availability of jobs is significantly less than it was 40 years ago. When will we grasp the fact that technology is making the human being redundant and it will continue to do so it an even greater pace. Work as a means of income generation, occupation and social interaction is on the way out.

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    Given that pensioners are statistically the richest demographic group, maybe it's time for richer pensioners, who have benefitted enormously, to pay back a little more to society."

    Statistics can prove anything. Most pensioners have little income. Most CEOs have huge incomes; maybe its time for them to pay back a little more to the society that feeds their greed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    Warning on ageing?

    Well wait til the bbc hear that we all die too!

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    All quite good but you seem to have missed a maximum wage of £16 per hour after all it would encourage foreign firms to invest in a country with a low cost base and would be twice what is needed to live on so you could invest it all in your retirement fund. If the necessities of life cost less then less would be needed the rest is just greed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    236. Transition_Town_Man
    if you google for "wealth demographics uk" you will see that the UK's ONS figures show 31% of people over 65 live in houses worth more than half a million pounds.

    Please provide the link. I'd like to see whatever other statistics are there to contradict your point.

    There's a fair chance that most of them PAID for that house and the inheritance tax on it will be nice

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    Homer Simpson hit the nail on the head when he told his dad how much he loved him - but he was old and so therefore useless - this is how how the UK and probably much of the western world see them sees the elderly - we will do what we have always done - steal from them - squabble about inheritance - and wait for them to die... sad but true...

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    NI can now be classed as fraudulent, as those who have paid it dutifully are denied the health care, benefits and pension for which it is supposed to be paid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    Not as silly as claiming the value of the house they live in as wealth. If they sold and bought another it would cost as much and so there is no gain. Down size and they will gain, but that is pure chance and the fact that govs have allowed the population to expand beyond what the country can support. Also not helped by benefits aided fragmentation of households.

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    We do not value older people in this consumer led society... Left to exist in nursing and residential homes where they are looked upon as the unproductive members of society , patronised, looked upon as the 'other' left to others who over medicate, baby sit with the aid of television, lose touch with the outside world because no-one can be bothered or has the time to take them out. Think on!

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    Transition Town man says many oldies homes are 'worth' a million pounds - well they are not worth it is just what they will fetch due to pure greed and poor Government policy restricting the number of houses built. This is why the young just cannot afford to leave home - one successive poor Government after another has caused this . Almost everything else drops in value when sold.

  • Comment number 242.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    Here is how it should be

    NO Benefits until 18, must work at 18+ in a trade or any job unless going Uni

    Limit unemployment benefit to 16 weeks

    Protect the disabled

    Minimum wage to be at least £8ph

    Scrap N.I. pay 29.9% tax as basic rate, all companies to pay 9.9% in addition to wage tax free into a Pension making pensions statutory for all

    VAT @ 10%


    Retire richer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    @219 zrzavy
    "if doctors have to choose they treat the child before the old person"

    That seems fair enough to me.The old person has had a life,the child has not.
    I'm fairly old,by the way,so I'm not being ageist.


Page 1 of 13


More Health stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.