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Grey Pride: A manifesto | 5

issues are spread over different

Government departments, with no

adequate joined-up working.

For example, an older person may not

be able to leave hospital simply because

the necessary home adaptations are

lacking. Yet if planning departments

had enabled more specialist retirement

housing to be built, they would be

less likely to be in hospital in the first

place. And enabling older people to

downsize into retirement housing frees

up properties for younger people further

down the property ladder.

A Minister for Older People would be

able to address these issues holistically,

for the benefit of all generations. Such

joined-up working would also drive

savings which could, for example, be

used to bring staffing levels on older

people's wards up to Royal College of

Nursing-recommended levels.

We are sleep-walking into a series of

crises while other countries are making

progress. In Canada, Minister of State

for Seniors Alice Wong is driving a more

joined-up approach. Nearer to home,

the Older People's Commissioners in

Wales and Northern Ireland have started

to address issues relating to their ageing


A Minister attending Cabinet and

a Commissioner will face different

challenges. A Minister should drive

long-term, holistic thinking while the

Commissioner would have powers

to investigate complaints and effect

change. Both roles are

necessary. In the same

way, for earlier life-stages, we already

have a Secretary of State for Education

and a Minister for Children as well as a

Children's Commissioner.

We are not calling for a new ministry or

role to be created. An existing Secretary

of State role should be expanded to

include the post of Minister for Older


Only through a dedicated Minister and

Commissioner can Government send

a clear message that it is serious about

addressing the needs of today's and

future generations of older people.

Jane Ashcroft CBE

Chief Executive


The number of people in England

aged 85 and over is increasing

today - 1.46m

2030 - 2.72m


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