January 7, 2010

UK: Over 50s tell party leaders what they want

. LONDON, England / The Daily Mail / News Board / January 7, 2010 The Saga manifesto: Over 50s tell party leaders what THEY want from next Government By Steve Doughty They are the views held dear by the older generation... the people whose votes are likely to decide the General Election. A manifesto of policies to suit the over-50s was presented to political leaders yesterday. And it is one that party chiefs ignore at their peril, as that generation is far more likely to vote than its younger counterparts. The manifesto calls for the shoring up of the state pension, cuts in taxation, an end to prejudice against the elderly in the NHS and the BBC, and the scrapping of compulsory retirement rules. It demands strong curbs on binge drinking, more police officers walking beats, and a zero-tolerance attitude to yobbery. Senior appeal: Saga readers want to prevent the axing of older presenters such as former Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Phillips And it seeks a reversal of the obsession of the political parties with young MPs and leaders. Instead, parties should look for 'more older people with experience of business and life in general'. Read Related report Those with dementia are people, not objects The Saga Manifesto, based on a poll of more than 14,000 over-50s, was produced by the business group of the same name, which sells to older people, from an online poll and a survey by pollsters Populus. Nearly two thirds of over-55s said they would vote in the General Election, compared to just a fifth of voters under 24, and a third of those in their late 20s and early 30s. The Daily Mail's Dignity for the Elderly campaign has highlighted discontent among many older people at the way they are routinely exploited and heavily charged by the care system, at the maltreatment of older patients in the NHS, and their suspicion that politicians regard pensioners as easy targets for taxation and service cuts. Emma Soames, of Saga Magazine, said: 'Issues that concern the older generation are varied. They include meaty public policy issues like supporting family carers and making retirement more flexible so it becomes more akin to taking a stroll down to the beach rather than falling off a cliff. 'Older people want to see a fairer and safer society for all.' [rc] Click here to continue reading © Associated Newspapers Ltd