There has been much written in recent years to suggest the UK is facing a ‘demographic timebomb’, caused by a growing number of older people with expensive health, care and pension needs. Whilst the ageing population is a fact in most developed countries, the UK’s ability to meet the challenge it poses is often underestimated. In reality, decent state pensions and universal social care are possible, providing society understands that this will mean doing things differently in the future. For example, rather than relying on the private pensions industry to offer second pensions, the state could play a much bigger role and use the money to invest in social and public works.
In addition to the timebomb scenario, is the argument that older people are better off now than ever before. Contrary to the view expressed in the media by politicians, think-tanks and other commentators, older people have not escaped austerity. Changes to the indexation of pensions and freezes to personal tax allowances have reduced the purchasing power of their income in the last five years, whilst severe cuts to social care budgets have left almost a million pensioners coping at home without any formal support.
This Age Audit therefore provides the data to give a more balanced view of what it is like to grow older in the UK in the early 21st century.
A copy of the Age Audit 2015 can be viewed here.