Older people to be majority in parts of Suffolk by 2029
- 7 November 2010
- From the section Suffolk
New figures show that by 2029 a majority of people in parts of Suffolk will be over 50 years old.
Research for the BBC shows 51% of people living in Suffolk Coastal will be over 50 in 19 years time, compared with 44% in 2009.
In Babergh the number is expected to rise from 43% to 50%; in Ipswich it is set to go up from 32% to 34%.
Daphne Savage, of Age UK Suffolk, said people should be able to "face later life with confidence".
The BBC's Living Longer project examines the economic and social impact of an ageing population using research carried out by public sector analysts at Experian.
Social housing provision
The Age UK charity has concerns about future provision of social housing, particularly if a lone older person does not want to leave a larger house.
Ms Savage, Age UK Suffolk's chief executive, said: "If local authorities want to release family-size homes, then they have to offer attractive alternative housing options so that people can remain in contact with their own community.
"Similarly, if people are home-owners, why should they down-size unless there are appealing alternatives available locally?"
Suffolk Coastal District Council said it was confident adequate policies were in place.
Cllr Chris Slemmings, cabinet member for housing, said: "There is a change in culture as many older people prefer to stay in their own homes.
"In order to make this possible the council helps older people with improvements and adaptations to make their accommodation more suitable.
"We're currently managing to address the need for social housing, but clearly a reduction in budget for social housing could change this."
Age UK said fuel poverty - which it defines as a household where more than 10% of income is spent on fuel - was also a concern.
Ms Savage said: "We need quick and easy availability of insulation for older people's homes, so are worried about the government cutting the funding for the Warm Front Scheme."
John Kilgannon, Babergh District Council's environmental protection manager, said: "In Babergh it is estimated that 9% of residents are classed as being in fuel poverty.
"We would always recommend residents get their houses properly insulated and there are many discounted schemes available to help with the cost."
Other statistics from Experian show that people live relatively longer in Suffolk.
Life expectancy in the county is 79.6 years for men and 83 for women - both above the UK average.