31 Mar 2015
Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will ‘think about’ appointing a Minister for Older People, a cause Anchor has championed since 2011, after being pressed on the issue twice in one week.
In a sign that older people’s concerns will be a hot political topic in the run up to May’s general election, the Prime Minister was first asked about the appointment at AgeUK’s conference in London last Tuesday – and then again during an appearance on SKY News on Thursday.
Following a question from an audience member at the Sky broadcast, Mr Cameron replied: “I was asked this question the other day about whether we should have a dedicated older person’s representative in the Cabinet.
"I will think about it, but I am a little bit worried about it on this basis: I don’t want older people’s concerns to be restricted to one person in the Cabinet. I want every one of my ministers to be thinking ‘how do we treat senior citizens properly?’”
Anchor’s Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Mario Ambrosi, commented: “Three years ago, 137,000 people signed our Grey Pride petition for a Minister for Older People which was handed in to Number 10.
"The Prime Minister’s acknowledgement shows that older people’s issues are very much on the political agenda for this election. Our campaign has already achieved a great deal, including driving more integration between health, social care and housing.
"There’s more to do though and we’ll be continuing to press our case across the political spectrum to ensure that older people’s voices are heard.”
Sue Croft, an Anchor customer who signed the Grey Pride petition, has since spoken to the Guardian about the power of the 'grey vote' and why it's a good thing that older people heckled David Cameron.
Sue said: "A minister for older people is not just a fancy title, or a reason for another MP to sit around the table in Downing Street – it’s a role that we need so that pensioners and older people are represented in parliament, to make sure our views are listened to. A minister could take a leading role in sorting out some of the problems pensioners are facing today, which are only likely to get worse as the population gets older.
"A lot of people my age are worried about healthcare and these concerns need to be addressed. From my work campaigning with Anchor, I know that its Grey Pride manifesto highlights the fact that, on older people’s wards in hospitals, there are far fewer nurses than on general wards. We’re constantly seeing in the news that older people are spending longer in hospital than they need to.
"We’ve heard enough talk; it’s time for action. If we don’t address the problems we’re facing now with health, social care and housing, what will the future be for youngsters when they grow old?"
You can read Sue's full Guardian 'comment is free' piece here.