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Our policy positions

Age UK has agreed policy positions on a wide range of public policy issues.

Our policies cover money matters, health and wellbeing care and support, safe at home and active communities. There are also some cross-cutting themes, covered on this page, such as age equality and human rights, age-friendly government and information and advice.

Quick reference guide

See our quick reference guide for a list of all our current policy positions.

How Age UK decides its policy positions

All our positions are developed in line with the ‘policy principles’ agreed with our Trustees.

Policy positions aim to set out guiding principles and key objectives in major policy areas, but we also develop more detailed policy recommendations through carrying out research and responding to consultations.

List of policy position papers


Money matters

Age UK believes that all current and future older people should have sufficient income from state and private sources to live comfortably and participate fully in society.

Consumer policy

Competitive markets should work for older people, offering a real choice of
goods and services that meet their needs and preferences.

Policy position paper (England)

December 2018

 

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Consumer vulnerability

Business has a vital role to play in ensuring that products and services support wellbeing and resilience in later life, especially for customers in vulnerable circumstances, and regulators must ensure firms do this.

Policy position paper (UK)

December 2018

 

Top of section

Financial entitlements

The benefit and welfare systems should ensure an adequate income for people in retirement and for younger people who are unable to work for reasons such as disability or caring responsibilities. Benefits designed to
boost income for those in work should ensure that work pays.

Policy position paper (UK)

December 2018

 

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Financial inclusion

Older consumers should have safe, convenient and affordable access to financial services. They should be able to expect appropriate protection and fair treatment.

Policy position paper (UK)

December 2018

 

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Poverty and financial disadvantage

All current and future pensioners should have enough money from state and private sources to live comfortably and participate fully in society.

Policy position paper (UK)

December 2018

 

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Private pensions

All current and future pensioners should have sufficient income from state and private sources to live comfortably and participate in society.

Policy position paper (UK)

December 2018

 

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State pensions

All current and future pensioners should have enough money from state and
private sources to live comfortably and participate fully in society.

Policy position paper (UK)

December 2018

 

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Taxation

The tax system should be fair; demands must be affordable but the taxation system should also ensure that people do not feel penalised for having saved.

Policy position paper (Council tax England, otherwise United Kingdom)

December 2018

 

Top of section

Using housing wealth

Housing wealth can be a valuable means of financial provision in retirement but it is not available to all and it is not an alternative to an adequate pension income.

Policy position paper (extent varies)

December 2018

 

Top of section


Health and wellbeing

Public health is just as important for older people as for other age groups and prevention even more so. Preventing poor health and health crises in older people should be an essential objective for health and care services.

Adult safeguarding

The abuse and neglect of older people remains a largely hidden issue, which leaves hundreds of thousands of older people experiencing, or at risk of, avoidable harm.

Policy position paper (England)

December 2018

 

Top of section

Ageing well - health and prevention

We must all be supported to live and age well, and this means addressing the causes of poor health and embedding a culture of prevention in public services and policy. Health and care services must fully recognise the impact of both physical and mental health in maintaining our wellbeing.

Policy position paper (England)

May 2019

Top of section

Carers

Carers must not be expected to sacrifice their health and quality of life. Society should recognise carers’ contribution, and ensure that they are supported to be able to live fulfilling lives whilst continuing in their caring role.

Policy position paper (England)

May 2019

 

Top of section

Independence and personalisation

Older people should have choice and control over the support that they receive, so that it is tailored to their individual needs and preferences, and should be able to draw on a wide range of support which is not limited to traditional care services. No one should fall through the safety net due to overstandardised services or assessment of needs.

Policy position paper (England)

March 2016

 

Top of section

Living well with dementia

Every person with dementia should be supported to live well and to continue participating in society. They and their carers should have access to good quality care and support from diagnosis to the end of life, wherever they live and whatever their background.

Policy position paper (England)

March 2016

 

Top of section

Loneliness

Older people should have the support and opportunity to make and maintain meaningful connections so that they can enjoy life as much as possible for as long as possible.

Policy position paper (UK)

May 2019

 

Top of section

Mental capacity

People must be supported in making as many decisions for themselves as possible, and where they are unable to do so, decisions must be made in that person’s best interests.

Policy position paper (England and Wales)

April, 2016

 

 

Top of section

Mental health

Older people must have fair and equal access to the services, support and opportunity to maintain good mental wellbeing. Older people must have confidence that their mental health needs are fully recognised and supported and seen as equally important as their physical health needs.

Policy position paper (England and Wales)

July 2019

Top of section

Nutrition and hydration

Good nutrition and hydration benefits older people. Well-nourished people are more likely to remain healthy and independent for longer.

Policy position paper (England)

April 2016

 

 

Top of section


Care and support

Older people must be able to expect high-quality care and support services that are coordinated and joined-up around their needs and circumstances.

Care homes

Care home residents must be able to maintain their personal identity and contact with family and community, and be protected against abuse, poor care and breaches of their consumer rights.

Policy position paper (England)

May 2019

Top of section

Digital assistive technology

Older people should be able to choose well designed digital care and support which helps them better manage their independence, dignity and wellbeing.

Policy position paper (UK)

July 2019

Top of section

End of life care

Everyone has the right to expect services and support that help them to achieve a dignified and pain-free death, with choice in how they are cared for in their final months and days, regardless of where they live or their diagnosis.

Policy position paper (England)

May 2019

Top of section

Improving healthcare

Older people must be able to access health services that do not discriminate and that are equipped to provide safe, high quality care that's right for them.

Policy position paper (England)

May 2019

 

Top of section

Older prisoners

Older prisoners should be held in establishments that meet their basic needs, receive the same basic level of health and social care as non-prisoners, and receive adequate support on release.

Policy position paper (England and Wales)

July 2019

Top of section

Social care assessment and eligibility

Older people must be able to expect full consideration of their individual care and support needs and access to services that will fully meet them.

Policy position paper (England)

May 2019

Top of section

Social care reform and funding

The social care system must be reformed to guarantee high-quality support for everyone who needs it and sufficiently funded to enable current and future generations of older people to lead fulfilling lives.

Policy position paper (England)

May 2019

Top of section


Housing and homes

Older people should be able to live safely and with dignity in good quality, warm housing that meets their individual needs, free from exploitation and abuse.

Age-friendly communities

Everybody should be able to live in an age-friendly environment that enables people of all ages to lead independent and fulfilling lives.

Policy position paper (England)

July 2019

Top of section

Crime and scams

Nobody should live in fear of crime. Police, local agencies, banks and other service providers must take action to prevent crimes targeted at older people and improve support for victims. The criminal justice system must be responsive to the needs of an ageing society.

Policy position paper (England and Wales)

November 2019

Top of section

Energy

Everyone should be able to live in a warm, energy efficient home, and the energy market should work in the interests of consumers.

Policy position paper (regional extent varies)

April 2016

Top of section

Housing design, adaptations and support

New and existing homes need to be adaptable to the changing needs of an ageing population to promote both independence and self-determination.

Policy position paper (England)

July 2019

Top of section

Older homelessness

No older person should find themselves homeless, either living in unsuitable temporary accommodation or sleeping rough on the streets.

Policy position paper (England)

July 2019

Top of section

Older private tenants

Older tenants need housing that provides a permanent, warm, affordable and suitable place to live and one that they can call home, without the constant threat of eviction.

Policy position paper (UK)

November 2019

Top of section

Retirement housing

Older people should have access to a range of different retirement housing options that match their individual needs and aspirations.

Policy position paper (England)

July 2019

Top of section

Rural ageing

Older people should be able to thrive whether they live in the countryside or in towns. They should be able to access essential services and live active lives.

Policy position paper (UK)

August 2018

Top of section


Active communities

Older people contribute a huge amount to society and the economy. Through work, volunteering, caring or grandparenting, older people take part in a range of activities all of which carry significant value. However, they face many barriers, including ageism, poor transport links and digital exclusion, which prevent them from playing a full and active role in the economy and society.

Digital inclusion

Older people should be supported and encouraged to get online but those who cannot or do not want to do so should continue to be able to access services and support in a way suits them.

Policy position paper (UK)

August 2018

Top of section

Employment

All older people who want to work must have the opportunity to do so. Someone’s age alone should play no part in judging whether they are capable to do any job.

Policy position paper (United Kingdom)

April 2019

Top of section

Engaging older people in decision making

All older people should have the opportunity to influence the design, development and implementation of any goods, services, policies and practices that affect their lives or the lives of future generations. This applies across the public, private and voluntary sectors.

Policy position paper (UK)

November 2019

Top of section

Learning and skills

Meaningful opportunities to learn for both work and pleasure should be available to people of all ages. Publicly and privately funded provision should be accessible to people regardless of their date of birth.

Policy position paper (England)

April 2019

Top of section

Older drivers

Wherever they live, older people should be able to reach key services, friends and family at reasonable cost, in reasonable time and with reasonable ease.

Policy position paper (UK)

November 2019

Top of section

Public transport

Wherever they live, older people should be able to reach key services, friends and family at reasonable cost, in reasonable time and with reasonable ease.

Policy position paper (England)

January 2018

Top of section

Volunteering and active citizenship

Everyone should have the opportunity to learn, join in, volunteer or work.

Policy position paper (England)

April 2016

Top of section


Cross-cutting themes

Ageism and Age Equality

Everyone should live with dignity and respect. Older people are equal members of society and should not be subjected to ageist attitudes, stereotyping or conduct.

Policy position paper (Great Britain)

August 2018

Top of section

Age friendly government

Government at all levels should take a strategic approach to building a society for all ages, where everyone is able to have a say in decisions that affect their lives.

Policy position paper (regional extent varies)

August 2018

Top of section

Human Rights

Human rights standards provide vital protection for older people by helping to change practice and procedure, culture and attitudes, and offering redress when breaches of human rights have taken place.

Policy position paper (UK)

August 2018

Top of section

Information and advice

All older people should be able to access good quality information and advice.

Policy position paper (regional extent varies)

August 2018

Top of section

Reshaping public services

In reshaping public services, Government at all levels should take account of the needs of an ageing population.

Policy position paper (England)

August 2018

Top of section

Rural ageing

Older people should be able to thrive whether they live in the countryside or in towns. They should be able to access essential services and live active lives.

Policy position paper (UK)

August 2018

Top of section

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Last updated: Dec 12 2019

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