Two commissioners have called on party leaders to set out how they plan to improve the lives of older people ahead of the general election.
The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland and the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales want political parties to commit to providing more financial security for older people and investing in public services that support them.
They have each written to party leaders, calling for election manifestos to include commitments to retain the ‘triple lock’ on pensions, which guarantees a minimum increase in the state pension each year; increase the take up of financial entitlements such as Pension Credit and Attendance allowance, and provide funding for the continuation of free TV licences for people over the age of 75.
The partners have also called for compensation to be provided to the thousands of older women affected by the increase of the State Pension Age, as well as a commitment that there will be no further reductions in older people’s financial entitlements.
The Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Eddie Lynch, said: “Although many of the issues which affect older citizens in Northern Ireland and Wales are devolved matters, responsibility lies with the UK government for a number of key matters of policy that affect our older people.
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots, said: “The UK government retains control over key areas that affect older people’s lives, such as pensions and financial entitlements, and the spending decisions taken by the UK government have a significant impact on the budget available to the devolved administrations.
“In recent years we’ve seen an erosion of rights and entitlements that support older people’s financial security, as well as an increase in the number of older people living in poverty. Alongside this, funding for public services has been cut significantly, reducing the availability of vital help and support that makes a positive difference to people’s lives.
“It’s essential that action is taken to tackle these issues.”