'Grey vote' warning for politicians

Source : Belfast Telegraph - belfasttelegraph.co.uk
Published on 11 April 2011 07:00 AM

Almost half of older people would change their vote in favour of a party that addresses the needs of senior citizens, a new survey has shown.

The research revealed 47% of older people would be prepared to switch their usual party of choice in favour of another that prioritised ageing issues.

The charity Age NI, which commissioned the survey, said older people face serious problems and fear the situation will get worse in the future.

Bill Carson, chairman of Age Sector Platform which is also pressing for political support for the elderly, said: "During the past few weeks, we have been meeting older people across Northern Ireland at our Pensioners Parliaments who are telling us that they are not just concerned about their own lives, but are particularly anxious about the ageing experiences their children and their grandchildren can expect to face in years to come.

"They are also saying loud and clear that they want incoming politicians to focus on the priorities for ageing outlined in the High 5 campaign.

"Older people plan to use their vote effectively for the benefit of older people today, and in the future, and will be judging with a fine-tooth comb just how the policies of local parties will improve life for us all as we age."

The poll showed 81% of older people surveyed believed the Assembly needed to make a greater effort to address issues of old age.

Campaigners said one in five eligible voters in Northern Ireland are over the age of 65, and they argued that election candidates who failed to take into account issues for older people risked alienating the so-called 'grey vote'.

Age NI and Age Sector Platform said they had joined forces to empower older voters in the run up to the May 5 Assembly election.

The groups recently launched their 'High 5' campaign, which called for the Executive to tackle fuel poverty, maximise pensioner income, fundamentally review social care, end age discrimination and tackle fear of crime.

Read more: www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news

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