This year, 2018, will see a number of important anniversaries in the fight for women’s equality. The first of these, today, celebrates the centenary of the extension of the vote to some women aged 30 and older.
Later in the year we’ll note
the 60th anniversary of the Life Peerages Act 1958 (30th March), which allowed women to sit in the House of Lords
the 90th anniversary of the Equal Franchise Act 1928, (2 July) which gave women the right to vote at age 21 on the same terms as men
and the 100th anniversary of the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918, allowing women to stand for election to the House of Commons (21 November).
In an almost unbearably sad piece about the death of her husband, the journalist Decca Aitkenhead wrote that ‘loneliness, I have learnt, is not an absence of company. It is an absence of meaning.’
Age UK estimates that more than 1.2 million older people are lonely and that chronic loneliness is affecting a growing number of older people as the population ages. There are particular issues that mean older people are at risk from loneliness – such as bereavement, ill health and complex long term health conditions. Loneliness is an issue that we think deserves more focus and we highlight it in our manifesto for the 2017 General Election. We believe the new Government must take the lead in developing a national strategy to identify, prevent and tackle loneliness, especially but not exclusively among older people. Continue reading “A life worth living”
As a Surrey resident working for Age UK, I felt quite confused and conflicted about how to vote in the prospective local referendum on a 15% council tax rise. On one hand, I really wasn’t happy about a huge hike in my bills but on the other hand through my work I am acutely aware of the enormous funding gap that has opened up in recent years between social care budgets and the growing number of people needing care and support. I felt grudgingly supportive of the leader of Surrey Council, David Hodge’s radical stance but not desperately keen on his solution.
The brilliant children’s story writer Judith Kerr, now in her 90’s, has commented that the problem with being widowed is ‘not that there’s nobody to do things with, it’s that there’s nobody to do nothing with. You have to make some plan for the day otherwise there’s this shapeless emptiness.’ Her words, as usual, are precise and cut straight to the heart of the issue (as well as appealing straight to the heart) and also apply to loneliness more broadly.
Having ‘nobody to do nothing with’ affects more of us than we ever knew. So many of us are lonely in fact that it doesn’t feel an exaggeration to call it a crisis. Age UK research has found that half a million people over the age of 60 usually spend every day alone, with nearly half a million more often going at least five or six days a week without seeing or speaking to anyone at all. Continue reading “Combating loneliness together”
At Prime Minister’s Question time just before the Autumn Statement, this Wednesday afternoon, The leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, chose to focus his questions to the Prime Minister on the funding crisis in social care. Corbyn asked the Prime Minister about the more than 1 million people who are not receiving the social care they need, the impact this is having on emergency hospital admissions, the fact that it is causing people to be stranded in hospital for longer than they need, the worry and fear that people face in old age and the stress that it places on NHS and social care staff.
We are repeatedly being told that “Brexit means Brexit” – but what does that actually mean? At the moment we are still a long way from really understanding the impact of Brexit on our daily lives. The Minister in charge of Brexit, David Davis, told Parliament last week that he didn’t yet know what sort of arrangements the UK would end up with in terms of trade, free movement of people or indeed any of the other hundreds of areas of policy which will be affected by Britain leaving the European Union. Continue reading “Brexit: Unknown unknowns”
Hundreds of women are planning to travel to Westminster today to complain to the government and their MPs about unfair changes to their state pensions. Major changes made through successive Pensions Acts in past years mean that women born in the 1950s have seen several changes to the date at which they will receive their pensions. These changes mean that the date a woman can start to claim her pension may be quite different from that of a woman who is just a little bit older or younger. These women could legitimately think government policy on pensions is unfair and the way the changes have been communicated to them has been a shambles. Continue reading “WASPI women march on Parliament”