- Tuesday, 28 August 2012
Almost two out of three over-55s would support the appointment of a special minister to focus on issues facing people in and approaching retirement, according to a study.
New research has found that 64 per cent would like to see a Retirement Minister in the Coalition Government, with a further 11 per cent unsure.
Just 25 per cent of over-55s said they would not support the appointment.
The strong backing comes ahead of major legislation on the State Pension, long-term care and the launch of auto-enrolment for workplace pensions.
Stuart Wilson, marketing director of Primetime Retirement who commissioned the study, said new solutions were needed from both Government and the private sector.
He said: “The over-55s realise that the old retirement of working to 60 or 65 and relying on a company pension has gone forever and that a new retirement reality is taking shape.
“Strong support for the appointment of a Retirement Minister shows there is a demand for innovation and leadership as the country grapples with the changing retirement issues.
“Of course appointing a Minister won’t solve all the issues but it would help focus the Government and other stakeholders on the need for more options in the retirement income debate.”
Men are more in favour of the appointment of a Retirement Minister, with 68 per cent backing the role compared with 60 per cent of women.
Neil Duncan-Jordan, of the National Pensioners Convention, warned that the post could simply become a “token effort”.
He said: “There are a lot of issues for a Retirement Minister to tackle ranging from finances, to care to housing.
“Then there is a general perception of older people which is not helped by certain politicians who say they are a drain on society and cost people money.
“There has been a lot of research done which proves the opposite but there is still this cultural shift that needs to happen.
“Our fear has always been that whether a Retirement Minister will cross swords with other ministers, such as the Pensions Minister.
“Are they going to be an advocate for older people in government or are they simply going to be an advocate for the government for pensioners?
“On paper it sounds like a great idea but what does the Retirement Minister do if he disagrees with other ministers, because they will be in the same party.
“If they fail to speak up for older people and simply stick up for the government then their credibility is gone. Older people will say ‘what are they doing for us’.
“Then it becomes a bit of a token effort and defeats the object.”
What do you think?
Should older people have more representation and more say within Government or do they have enough already? That’s a question as editor of Mature Times I’d like to ask you, our readers.
So please, if you have strong feelings on this subject, either for or against, then please write to me here at Mature Times and let me know. I will then look at the response and take on board your views before deciding what, as a publication, we do next.
There are over 20 million people in this country aged 50+ and it’s about time there was someone with a voice and in power to stand up and represent them – so give me your views and opinions and let’s try and make a difference.
Andrew Young, Mature Times editor
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