|Glad To Be Grey|
Over-55s 'more likely to vote than any other age group'
Older voters will be more influential in the 2010 General Election than ever before, a charity for the elderly has said.
Age UK – formed from the merger of Age Concern and Help the Aged – says research shows that the over-55s are almost twice as likely to vote than 18-24-year-olds, that people aged 55 and over will cast four out of every 10 votes and that they make up the majority in many marginal seats.
In the Hammersmith constituency, which includes Shepherd's Bush, 32.1% of voters fall into the over-55 age bracket, according to the research conducted for the charity by De Montfort University.
Michelle Mitchell‚ Age UK Charity Director‚ said: “This research shows that older people’s votes cannot be taken for granted and that many people are not lifelong supporters of one political party. It also illustrates that when we talk about older voters‚ we’re talking about individuals‚ not a voting bloc. Just as with all ages‚ the over 60s care about a variety of issues and their decisions are based on families‚ hopes and worries for the future.”
Age UK say they are calling on parliamentary candidates to commit to key election pledges to improve the lives of older people including: reforming the 'failing' social care system‚ improved pensions‚ axing ageism and ending forced retirement‚ making the NHS fit for later life‚ enabling older people to play a greater role in society.
Michelle Mitchell‚ Age UK Charity Director‚ said: “An ageing society presents tremendous opportunities that should rightly be celebrated‚ yet at the same time we have a big challenge ahead to improve the experience of later life for people now and for generations to come. Alongside climate change‚ population ageing is the greatest global transition we will face this century.
“Many older people and their families have experienced poor treatment from a crumbling‚ underfunded social care system which can’t cope with demand. Everyday people face age discrimination in employment‚ medical treatment and financial services‚ leaving them feeling worthless and shut out of society. And later life continues to be ignored when it comes to building communities and providing services‚ despite the huge demographic shift we are seeing.
“The success of any party in this election depends on their commitment to act on the issues which are most important to older people who are more likely to vote than any other age group. Older people are fed up with second class services and we will support them to demand action from their local candidates on care‚ age discrimination‚ the NHS and pensions.”
26 April 2010