Category Archives: Campaigning

More needed to make Britain a great place to grow older

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne

The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne

Our latest blog has been contributed by Mike Smith, joint Head of Public affairs at Age UK, commenting on the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.

As we continue to digest the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor’s announcement contained some welcome news for older people, but lacked action on some of the biggest issues Age UK has been campaigning on to make Britain a great place to grow older in the coming years.

What was in the statement? Certainly we heard some welcome news around the £2billion extra funding for the NHS, and the additional £1.2billion to improve GP services.  As people grow older many of us will rely more and more on vital health services.  As Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, highlighted in the Five Year Forward View the NHS will need an additional £8billion a year in the coming years and so this is a positive start. Continue reading

Lord Low wins Human Rights Campaign of the Year Award

Lord Low of Dalston, wins Liberty’s Human Rights Campaign of the Year Award

Lord Low of Dalston, wins Liberty’s Human Rights Campaign of the Year Award

Age UK is delighted that Lord Low of Dalston has won Liberty’s Human Rights Campaign of the Year Award. Lord Low received the award at a ceremony last night. “I was delighted to receive this award because it highlights our success in greatly extending the application of the Human Rights Act to social care situations. When we consider the extent of cruelty, abuse and neglect which we daily read about in our newspapers, this is a vitally important step forward.”

Age UK nominated Lord Low for the Award because he has championed human rights and the protection of disabled and vulnerable people for over four decades.   In May 2014, he led a campaign which extended greater human rights protection to hundreds of thousands of older and disabled people receiving care services as the landmark Care Bill, now the Care Act, took centre stage in the House of Lords.

The Bill aimed to change the law to protect adults at risk of abuse and neglect and is an important step forward in offering better protection to people receiving care services. It also provided an opportunity for Parliament to correct an anomaly which excluded some people receiving care from protection under the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA).  A loophole in human rights law had emerged where coverage under the HRA for those receiving care services depended on what that service was, how it was funded and who arranged it. For many, human rights abuses could take place with no option for legal redress under the HRA. Continue reading

Older, not colder

An older woman reading her fuel bill

The weather may still be relatively mild, but there’s no doubt that winter is just around the corner and for many older people, this is a huge worry. Age UK’s new research has found that 1 in 3 older people are concerned about keeping their home adequately warm this coming winter, and 70 per cent of older people are concerned about the high cost of energy.

Continue reading

Ending poverty and inequality in later life

Before getting help from Age UK County Durham, Lily, 88, was having to make painful sacrifices every day due to her limited income. This meant going to bed early just to stay warm because she couldn't afford to put the heating on.

Before getting help from Age UK County Durham, Lily, 88, was having to make painful sacrifices every day due to her limited income. This meant going to bed early just to stay warm because she couldn’t afford to put the heating on.

Last week we launched our End Pensioner Poverty campaign. Joanne Sawyer, Equality and Human Rights Policy Adviser, looks at how the issue of pensioner poverty relates to human rights in the UK.

Today in the UK, 1.6 million older people live in poverty, of whom 900,000 are living in severe poverty.  Whilst the number of pensioners living on a low income has fallen considerably in recent years, progress has now stalled and pensioner poverty levels have stayed the same.  In practice, this means constant financial worries for some older people and struggles to afford basic essentials like fresh food, warm clothes, and heating during the winter.

This unequal situation persists despite the right of everyone in the UK to an adequate standard of living which includes “adequate food, clothing and housing”, whatever their age and whatever their background.[1]  The General Assembly of the UN has stated that “older persons should have access to adequate food, water, shelter, clothing and health care through the provision of income, family and community support and self-help”.[2] Continue reading