20 Mar 2012
The Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) has called for the government to appoint a Minister for Older People in their latest report.
The report, entitled “It’s My Choice”, looks at all aspects of public and private transport. Recognising the many benefits that independent mobility can bring to quality of life, PACTS argue that we need to promote greater and safer mobility for an ageing society.
The report states the Council’s view that: “There is currently no government minister who has sole responsibility for older people or the ageing society, though there is a shadow minister for older people. Although some responsibilities lie with ministers in the Department of Health and the Department of Work and Pensions, there is no minister who has the role of considering all needs of older people and analysing policies across departments in terms of their impact on older people. PACTS recommends that the government fill this void and appoint a minister for older people.”
The aim of PACTS is to advise and inform members of the House of Commons and Lords on air, rail and road safety issues. It brings together safety professionals and legislators to identify research-based solutions to transport safety problems having regard to cost, effectiveness, achievability and acceptability.
Commenting on the report, Robert Gifford, Executive Director of PACTS, said: “Over the next decade the balance of the population in this country will change. Older people need to be kept mobile and safe. I hope that this report will generate a national discussion about the state of our pavements and the relevance of self-regulation when it comes to giving up your driving licence. We need to move beyond seeing older people as a problem to viewing them as contributing to a mixed society.”
This is yet another boost for our campaign to get a dedicated minister appointed to ensure issues affecting older people are properly prioritised and handled in a joined-up way.
Since Grey Pride was launched in April last year, we have achieved a great deal; we have cross-party support from more than 90 MPs and over 40 celebrities and leading organisations, including Dementia UK, the English Community Care Association, Action on Elder Abuse, the National Housing Federation and Legal & General Group PLC, are backing us.
Our campaign led to Prime Minister David Cameron being faced with questions on the subject at Prime Minister's Questions, a supportive MP, Tracey Crouch, secured a Westminster Hall debate on the topic back in September, and in obtaining the support of Leader of the Opposition, the Rt Hon Ed Miliband MP, we've proved that we can achieve change; for the first time we now have a Shadow Minister for Care and Older People in Liz Kendall.
Our petition with 137,000 signatures of support was delivered to Downing Street in November and we are currently waiting to hear if we can secure a backbench debate, and if we do we will be calling on all those with Grey Pride to ensure their MP attends and makes the case for a dedicated Minister for Older People!