26 Jan 2015
100 days before the general election, older people’s charity, Anchor, has issued a warning to politicians to not take the Grey Vote for granted.
Anchor’s online YouGov survey of 2,000 Brits aged 55 and over exposes a shift in political alliance as nearly a quarter (24%) of those planning to vote said they are not going to vote for the same party they voted for in the 2010 election and nearly a fifth (19%) are undecided as to whether the same party will have their allegiance this May. While, just over half (54%) said they will be voting as they did five years ago.
The research revealed the top political issues for grey voters. The current NHS crisis appears to be a key concern for older people as 86% said that politicians should be focussing on health and social care. 79% of over-55s highlighted tackling terrorism, compared to 69% who want political leaders to focus on the economy. Concerns surrounding pensions and savings were highlighted by 51% of those surveyed.
On policies relating specifically to those aged 55 and over, 61% said ensuring older people can afford to pay for good quality care in their old age is an issue in need of political attention. Encouraging people to start saving for retirement (49%) was highlighted, as well as making sure public transport is user-friendly for older people (41%).
Grey voters could hold the key to securing vital seats in the upcoming general election as a staggering 93% of older people said they will definitely or probably vote on 7 May. However, only 13% think that politicians represent the views of people their age well.
A further 26% of those planning on voting are currently undecided about which political party they will be voting for. To secure the Grey Vote, Anchor is calling for political parties to carefully consider older voters’ concerns in their party manifestos.
84% believe there should be someone in Government at Cabinet level responsible for representing older people. Anchor is campaigning to appoint a Minister for Older People to better support the over-55s and help tackle the issues facing our ageing population.
Jane Ashcroft CBE, Chief Executive of Anchor, says it’s clear that politicians aren’t adequately representing the views of older people:
“The lack of action on health and social care provision is yet another example of where the country's leaders are failing to take action on an issue that concerns older people.
“As identified in our Grey Pride Manifesto, there is only one registered nurse to every 10 patients in older people’s wards which fails to meet recommended safety requirements and that just isn’t good enough.
"This political apathy is disastrous both for the older people currently being failed by the system, and for future generations who deserve support in later life.
“With only 100 days before the General Election, and many older people still yet to decide on their vote, now is the time to take action to ensure that the Grey Vote is considered and adequately represented by all political parties.”