Campaigners and representatives from charities supporting older people delivered a petition to number ten Downing Street to call for a Commissioner. The Carer reports that the petition of over 37,000 signatures is calling for the appointment of an independent Commissioner for Older People and Ageing in England.

Over the next 20 years, a quarter of England’s population will be over the age of 65, and there are concerns that not enough is being done to prepare for an ageing society. Difficulties facing today’s pensioners include low income, social isolation and loneliness, and inadequate provision of social care.

The organisations marching on Downing Street included representatives from the Centre for Ageing Better, Independent Age and Age UK, and also the older person’s organisation the National Pensioners Convention. They carried props such as walkie talkies, posters of carrier pigeons, a megaphone and a tin can and string to ‘get the message across.’

Wales and Northern Ireland already have older people’s advocates in place, but no action has been taken to establish one in England. A campaign is underway in Scotland to create a similar role. The Commissioner ensures that the views and opinions of older people are heard by people in power, and that policies are designed to meet their needs. 

Dr Carole Easton OBE, Chief Executive at the Centre for Ageing Better, said: “The public has spoken on this issue and it is clear there is huge popular support for a Commissioner for Older People and Ageing.”

She added: “More than anything, people can sense the unfairness that older people in Wales and Northern Ireland already have an advocate standing up for their rights but not in England.”

“When we launched this campaign last year, we knew there was a compelling case to create a commissioner for England. Events since then have only served to highlight the necessity and urgency for change.”

“Our anti-ageism campaign has highlighted the overwhelming presence of ageism within our society. Our State of Ageing report has highlighted the very dire financial insecurity, and inequality, among older people – a situation which will only deteriorate following last month’s Budget.” 

Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said: “Over the last few years, we’ve seen how the Older People’s Commissioners in Northern Ireland and Wales have made a tangible difference.”

“For example, they have certainly helped to amplify older people’s voices, making it much harder for governments to overlook their views and interests when important decisions are made that impact them. It’s high time the rapidly growing older population in England is able to benefit in a similar way.”

The petition was also presented to representatives of the Labour and Liberal democrat parties.

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