Age Scotland has written to all candidates
Age Scotland has called on the three SNP leadership candidates to keep a minister for older people in their plans for the next Scottish Government.
Scotland’s national charity for older people wrote to the three MSPs hoping to become the next SNP leader and first minister - Kate Forbes, Humza Yousaf and Ash Regan - to highlight the country’s rapidly ageing population and the challenges that many older people face, including poverty, poor health, loneliness and discrimination, and urged them to ensure that a strong ministerial role for older people features in their administration.
In the letter to the candidates, Mark O’Donnell, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: “Scotland’s population is ageing, and it is doing so faster than the rest of the UK. There is much to celebrate about our older population and the tremendous value they offer the country, but far too many face significant and long-lasting challenges in their lives such as poverty and low income, poor health, loneliness, discrimination, and social exclusion. But I am sure that you will be only too familiar with this.
“Only 21% of older people in Scotland feel valued by society and when asked in Age Scotland’s 2021 Big Survey of more than 3,500 over 50s, more than a third (36%) said that older people were made to feel a burden to society. I’m sure you will be taken aback by this.
“Having ministerial responsibility for older people not only demonstrates a serious commitment to improving the lives of the over 50s in Scotland, progresses equality, and supports the cross-cutting activities of government in doing so, but signals to a growing and substantial group of people that they are valued and a core consideration of your administration.”
“It is hugely important that older people have ministerial representation in the Scottish government to let older voters know that their concerns are being taken seriously. Since 2018 there has been a minister for older people and equalities to help ensure that older people’s voices are heard to when it comes to drafting policy and legislation that affects their lives.
"We hope that the new leader of the SNP and first minister of Scotland will maintain that vital role and work alongside organisations such as Age Scotland to support older people, celebrate the country’s older population and be part of our ambition to make Scotland the best country in the world to grow older.”