26 Nov 2012
This week marks the 1 year anniversary of Grey Pride Day, when campaign supporters from around the country delivered our petition calling for the appointment of a dedicated Minister for Older People to 10 Downing Street.
Over the last 12 months the need for a Cabinet Minister with responsibility for the range of issues and policies that affect older people has grown even greater. Recognition of this fact has become more widespread amongst politicians, as diverse groups, including the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety, (PACTS), echo our call, and this summer MPs in the House of Commons voted in favour of a motion calling on the Government to consider appointing a Minister for Older People.
The campaign was launched in April 2011 by Anchor, after the older people we work with repeatedly told us they felt invisible to politicians and that their issues were not being addressed by government.
The campaign made headlines and caught the imagination of people of all ages. On 28th November the same year, the Grey Pride petition was handed in with the signatures of 137,000 members of the public, the backing of 96 MPs, 20 celebrities and a host of older peoples’ charities and organisations.
Before even being presented to Downing Street, our call for change was recognised by the Leader of the Opposition, as on 7th October 2011, the Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP appointed Liz Kendall Shadow Minister for Older People and Care.
Lobbying has continued throughout 2012 with the campaign receiving further publicity in February when research into the cost of care, carried out by Anchor, revealed that 1 in 4 people are unaware that care funding is means-tested.
In March Grey Pride supporters then took part in the End the Care Crisis Lobby. Alongside a consortium of over 50 organisations representing older and disabled people, they highlighted the need for reform to the social care system if it is to be fair and suitably funded, deliver dignity, independence and choice.
The immense support for our campaign enabled us to secure a crucial House of Commons debate on 28th June this year. This breakthrough moment saw Members of Parliament taking action on our behalf and voting in favour of our motion calling on the Government to consider granting this centralising responsibility and power to a Cabinet Minister.
This means the final decision now ultimately sits with David Cameron, yet in September, when the Prime Minister had the perfect opportunity to appoint a dedicated Minister for Older People in his Cabinet reshuffle, he failed to do so.
We have achieved a great deal over the last year and will of course continue to strive to keep older peoples’ issues at the forefront of the political agenda, discussing the most important topics and keeping pressure on the Prime Minister for change.