Prime minister Liz truss has been urged to plan for the long term to avoid repeated long-term seasons of suffering.
David Sinclair, Chief Executive of specialist think tank the International Longevity Centre said:
“Our failure to plan for demographic change has led to skills shortages in essential services, a struggling health and care system, and low productivity.
We face a shortage of 2.6 million workers over next decade due to population ageing and low migration.
We aren’t building housing for younger or older people and we haven’t fixed social care for young or old.
The Government’s plans for 5 extra healthy years are ambitious but unachievable without adequate focus on preventing ill health across all ages.
Young people are under-saving and pensioner poverty is about to increase. We haven’t adequately invested in energy efficiency or home improvements – so too many people live in homes which are inappropriate and expensive to heat.
A generation of younger people have had significant disruptions to their learning while few adults have access to learning to support them to work longer and adapt to a changing world.
Older workers haven’t returned to the labour market in adequate numbers, yet our economy needs their skills, expertise and their spending power.
These challenges are huge. And with the immediate pressure of the cost-of-living crisis, we could see a difficult winter followed by seasons of suffering if the new Prime Minister doesn’t act fast. But it’s not a hopeless situation. We know what the challenges are and we know that there are economic and social benefits of addressing them.
Older people are, for example, responsible for over half of all consumer spending so supporting people to be healthier for longer, allows for longer working lives and increased consumer spending.
It’s time to reset public policy and plan for the longer term. If we don’t, the winter of discontent could go on for years, if not decades.