It’s budget day.
I was asked to be a commentator on a budget briefing this afternoon but I’m not good on economics – more interested in nuts and bolts. All the same, it’s useful sometimes to stick your head up and remember how the little things you do, fit into the bigger picture. Like Piers Plowman‘s dream when he saw the field of folk spread out on the plain below him.
A week ago, the House of Lords Public Service and Demographic Change Committee published an erudite report “Ready for Ageing?”
Here’s what Baroness Greengross had to say when introducing the report.
Our society is in denial of the inevitability of ageing. We have put off the difficult decisions for far too long.
The Public Service and Demographic Change Committee argues that there has been a lack of vision and coherence in the ageing strategies of successive governments. This cannot continue.
It is fiscally vital that we get ageing right. Age-related spending in the UK is projected to rise from an annual cost of 21.3% to 26.3% of GDP between 2016/17 and 2061/62, equivalent to a rise of around £79bn in today’s money.
A very good place to get the big picture is the website of the International Longevity Centre .
This is what is loosely called “joined up thinking”- it’s something that individuals do very well but Governments do very badly. There is a lack of empathy between those in Government and the population. We just don’t get the Government’s strategy on ageing.
The ILC are bang on in calling for a proper statement on ageing; I endorse these conclusions
But that does not make old people a problem. In many ways, they are the people who built our economic prosperity, fought wars, endured a decade of genuine austerity and worked their butts off so that we could have the prosperity we enjoy today.
Whether it be from the Royal Mail Pension Scheme or the impeding cessation of national insurance rebates, this Government is receiving some tasty cash injections from the pensions system. Let’s hope that that the Chancellor remembers our elderly and puts them at the centre of his thinking.
- UK ‘not ready for ageing society’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Money crisis as we live longer (thesun.co.uk)
- New Lords committee report a wake-up call to government (agescotland.wordpress.com)
- Peers urge action on ageing society (standard.co.uk)
- Labour: the plausible budget plan | Peter Hain (guardian.co.uk)
- Budget Day strike for civil servants (bbc.co.uk)