With the number of over-65s expected to nearly double by 2050 and little plan for how to support them, Channel 4 News looks at what can be done to cope with the perfect storm of an ageing population.
Long life used to mark out societies that were healthy and happy. It was a sign of a well-developed nation that could look after itself.
But the alarming rate of growth in the numbers of people aged over 60 in the UK has become a cause for concern, as society grapples with the million dollar question of how we fund the support for this growing number of people who need it – against a backdrop of wider welfare cuts.
The figures alone are staggering. Almost one in five of the UK’s current population is over 60 and the over 50s make up a third of the population. There are now 3.2 workers for every pensioner in the UK, compared with 14 workers for every pensioner in the year 1900.
By putting state pension age later, we’re basically penalising those who die young to the relative benefit of wealthy people who live longer.Michael Johnson, Centre for Policy Studies
A House of Lords committee set up last year to look into the provision for an ageing population will today hear from the three ministers with responsibility for older people – Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, pensions minister Steve Webb and care minister Norman Lamb.
But if the massive delay to the white paper on state pensions, which was supposed to be published last March, is anything to go by, the solution is proving more difficult than anyone thought.
“The evidence we have received so far suggests that we are worryingly underprepared,” said Lord Filkin, the committee chairman.