Demographic time bomb: Government 'woefully underprepared' to deal with Britain's ageing population

 

The Government is “woefully underprepared” for a demographic time bomb that will see the number of people aged over 65 living in Britain leap by nearly five million in two decades, a report warned today.

It said the country needs to transform health and social care, pensions, working patterns and housing provision in order to cater for a rapidly ageing population.

Unless political leaders faced up to the challenges they will endure a succession of “miserable crises” in the near future over how to care and pay for millions more pensioners, a House of Lords committee said.

It sounded the alarm following projections of a 50 per cent increase in numbers of over-65s between 2010 and 2030 and a doubling of over-85s.

“Living for longer is to be celebrated. But our society needs to review how to pay for the risks and costs associated with lives that may be ten years longer than previously. People can outlive their pensions and savings, suffer ill-health and require social care,” it said.

As many more people live into advanced years, the numbers with several long-term conditions are soaring, piling pressure on the National Health Service for which it is unprepared, the peers warned.

The incidence of dementia is forecast to increase by 80 per cent over the next 20 years, with cases of arthritis, heart disease and strokes each set to go up by 50 per cent.

They opposed further reform of the NHS, but called for “radical changes” to the delivery of health and social care to ensure it better focuses on the needs of elderly patients.

The Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change called for the division between the NHS and social services to be scrapped to produce round the clock care for older people. It also called for more homes to be built for the elderly to enable them to continue living independently.

The peers warned that many people will have inadequate savings and pensions to sustain them through longer lives and called on the public and private sector employers to enable people to avoid “cliff-edge retirement” and work part-time or flexibly in their 60s and 70s.

Raising fears over Britain’s “worrying under-saving problem”, the committee urged the Government and pensions industry to give people clearer information about their savings and the amounts they can expect to receive in retirement.

It suggested that older people should be enabled to release equity from their homes without excessive risk to help them meet their living costs.

Lord Filkin, the committee’s chairman, said: “This is not a distant issue. Our population is older now and will get more so over the next decade. The public are entitled to an honest conversation about the implications.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £45,000

£18000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive is required t...

Recruitment Genius: Test Development Engineer

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you inspired to bring new a...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Motor Engineer

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Technical Administrator

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are a world leadin...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral