The House of Lords Committee on Public Service and Demographic Change took evidence from senior officials from the Treasury, the Department of Health, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Communities and Local Government as they continued their inquiry into the potential impact of an ageing population on the provision of public services.
In their written evidence to the Committee the Government accepted that the ageing population means the nation has a choice between saving more, taxing more, working longer or having poorer pensioners. But are those the only options? It is also clear that the public do not understand what they can expect from the state in terms of pensions and social care and what they will need to provide for themselves. The Committee pushed the officials to explain what the Government is doing about this worrying situation.
The evidence session took place at 11:00 on Tuesday 9 October in Committee Room 2A of the House of Lords. Giving evidence were:
- Jon Bright, Director of Homelessness and Support, Building Regulations and Climate Change, Department for Communities and Local Government
- Shaun Gallagher, Acting DG for Social Care, Local Government and Care Partnerships, Department of Health
- Trevor Huddleston, Chief Analyst, Department for Work and Pensions
- James Richardson, Director, Fiscal and Deputy Chief Economic Advisor, Fiscal Group, HM Treasury.
The Committee asked the witnesses whether the Government are doing enough to prepare for an ageing population, how the Government assess options for reducing public spending, and whether current public services for the elderly can be afforded. The officials were also quizzed on how the quality of services such as social care can be improved and how to achieve better joined-up care.