Our campaign urges all Londoners to recognise the contribution that older people make to the social and economic life of London
The campaign calls for the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority (GLA) to work with Age UK London and GLF to establish an annual, week-long event in which older people’s contribution to London is recognised and promoted. It also calls for public bodies, the public at large, and the media, to recognise, support, and engage with older people as active contributors to society, not just passive recipients of services.
The campaign report, written by Silvia Schehrer and Stephanie Sexton, argues that older people contribute to society in a myriad of ways, including:
Caring – Many older people care for their partners, children, grandchildren, friends and neighbours, although they often don’t view themselves as carers. This type of informal caring is estimated to be worth around £30 billion to the state.
Volunteering – Many older people volunteer in schools and hospitals, local community groups and charities. Volunteering of this nature is estimated to be worth around £10 billion to the state .
Influencing – As members of political parties, unions, forums, executive boards, local council infrastructure and local health bodies, older people help to plan for and influence local services. They are also more likely to vote in elections than any other age groups.
Employment – The over 50s make up a significant part of the labour force and one of the largest group of entrepreneurs. They contribute skills and experience gained over many years to the London economy. Nationally, they contribute billions of pounds in tax revenues to the state.
The report predicts that the social and economic value of older people’s contribution to society will only increase over the coming years, due to the rise in the State Pension Age and in overall improvements in health, leading to older people working and being active for longer.
Key strategic recommendations
1. There should be an annual, week-long event focusing on older people’s contribution, facilitated by Age UK London in partnership with GLF and others and supported by the Mayor of London.
2. The GLA should fund detailed research into the economic and social contribution of older people to London.
3. The Mayor of London should promote the contribution of older people actively in a variety of forums, in all of his areas of responsibility, including skills and employment, through his London-wide strategies and through challenging negative images of older people and promoting positive images of older people in all of his work.
There are also recommendations for Transport for London, the Metropolitan Police, the NHS in London, local authorities, London Councils and the media.