When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
East Lancashire backing for proposed 'minister for older people'
Senior figures across East Lancashire have backed proposals for a Minister for Older People, which were pressed on the Government yesterday — with 65-year-old Blackburn MP Jack Straw volunteering for the job!
The proposal has been put forward at Westminster in a special debate by a cross-party group of backbenchers, who say that elderly members of society are often overlooked by politicians.
The Bishop of Blackburn Nicholas Reade, the town’s chairman of Age UK Ian Woolley, Burnley labour party chairman Peter Pike and Mr Straw all said such a cross-departmental appointment could help the country ensure a better old age for its growing numbers of elderly people.
Bishop Reade said: “Older people play a massive role in our society, and as the number of older people grows that role will increase. It is important that they are listened to both in Government and more widely.
“They have a great deal of experience and wisdom to share, and of course particular needs and issues as well.
“We seem to have ministers responsible for most groups, and I would have thought an older people’s minister would be a very wise appointment.”
Former Burnley MP Mr Pike, aged 75, said: “I think this is a good idea. There are more and more people in their 80s, 90s and even 100s.
“We need someone to knock heads together in Government to make sure that older people do not fall between gaps in health and social care services and benefits.
Mr Woolley, aged 80 and a former health trust chairman, said: “I think this is a sensible idea. We have a growing number of older people and we need someone to co-ordinate services so they are not forgotten.
“As well as helping provide co-ordinated services for elderly people, the Government needs to ensure better services in terms of health and activities for people as they grow older to prevent them just landing on social and health services when their age causes problems.”
Mr Straw said: “This is an idea that needs serious consideration.
“I think any Minister for Older People needs to be located in a particular department such as work and pensions.
“The trouble with such cross-department appointments can be that they have no defined role which frustrated every-body. If an older minister for this job is needed, then I will volunteer!”
Comments are closed on this article.