England 'not ready for ageing population'
Published on 14 March 2013 11:30 AM
A House of Lords committee has warned that England is 'woefully under-prepared' for the country's ageing population.
The cross-party committee acknowledged that while longer living is a 'gift' it could cause 'a series of crises' for public services and society unless things change.
A 'ground-breaking' report from the committee drew attention to figures from the Office for National Statistics which predict a 50% rise in people aged over 65 between 2010 and 2030.
Meanwhile, the population of over-85s is set to double during the same period.
With this in mind, the group wants the Government to introduce a white paper ahead of the 2015 general election to outline plans to better cope with England's older population.
It is thought that health and social care services in particular will need to adopt a 'radically different model' to provide suitable home care and cut down on needless hospital admissions.
The committee noted that older people are already being failed by the current NHS set-up and this will only be exacerbated as the average population gets older.
New commissions to monitor progress on ageing issues
After the next general election, the committee recommends that whoever is in power should introduce two cross-party commissions to monitor and report on action being taken to prepare for an increasingly older society.
It is recommended that one of them should be left to focus on necessary improvements to the health and social care system. Meanwhile, a second committee would work closely with employers and financial services to boost pensions, savings and equity release schemes.
The committee also recommended that people should be able to stay in work for longer, with part-time employment a way to remove the 'cliff-edge' retirement system at a particular age.
In response to the House of Lords report, Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General at Age UK, said: 'This House of Lords report is ground-breaking.
'It's the first time a group of senior policymakers in this country has shown it grasps the scale and nature of change needed across our society in response to the gift of longer lives. The report lays down an urgent challenge to which we must urgently respond.'
Copyright Press Association 2013