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Older People

Volume 712: debated on Monday 13 July 2009

Statement

My honourable friend the Minister of State for Work and Pensions (Angela Eagle) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I am pleased to announce that we are today publishing Building a Society for All Ages a strategy setting out a programme of action to respond to the challenges and opportunities presented as our society grows older.

As a country, we are living through an enormous demographic shift with more of us living for longer than ever before. While this is not a new phenomenon, the UK has just passed a tipping point. In 2007, the number of adults below state pension age compared to those over it began to decline for the first time in 25 years. This is a result both of greater individual longevity and also of the baby boomer generations born after the Second World War starting to reach state pension age.

Across society, we will all need to act to make the most of these opportunities. We need to ban unjustifiable age discrimination and end outdated attitudes which too often drive our expectations and treatment of older people. Achieving this will enable individuals to lead the later life that they want and allow society to harness the skills and experience of our older population to the benefit of all our communities and our economy.

Building a Society for All Ages sets out a programme of action to support change by individuals, in families, in the workplace and the economy and in public services and communities. It includes measures to support people to look forward and plan earlier and to encourage them to remain active and participate fully in society in their later lives. We also set out plans to improve the provision of information, help and support for those who need it.

Copies of the report are available in the Vote Office and the Printed Paper Office.