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Older People

Volume 407: debated on Tuesday 24 June 2003

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To ask the Prime Minister what assessment he has made of the role of Cabinet-level champion for older people; and if he will make a statement. [121017]

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions chairs the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Older People in co-ordinating the Government's policies affecting older people.The Government are committed to delivering public services to older people. This includes:

Free NHS prescriptions and eye tests for anyone over 60;
Free breast screening for women aged 50 to 65 being extended to all women up to the age of 70 by 2004;
Winter fuel payments for everyone over 60, to provide help towards the extra costs of keeping warm in winter;
The Warm Front scheme, previously known as the Home Energy Efficiency Grant, providing grant funding to people over 60 on disability or income-related benefits to assist with heating and insulation improvements to their homes;
Local bus travel being made more affordable through half-fare minimum concessionary fares provision for pensioners;
Free TV licences for anyone over 75.

This activity builds on the action announced in the "Life Begins at 50" report in May 2000. The Department of Health is taking forward the National Service Framework for Older People and published a report on progress in March this year. An update on the active ageing agenda promoted in the "Winning the Generation Game" report is available on the Cabinet Office website. The Department for Work and Pensions published the consultation paper "Security, Simplicity and Choice" on working and saving for retirement and extending opportunities for older workers and has recently announced an action plan for taking this forward. The Age Positive campaign is addressing ageism in the workplace, to prepare for legislation in 2006. In October the new pension credit will offer a secure minimum income and savings incentive for millions of existing pensioners.