Given the potential impact of an ageing society on a broad range of public services, the Committee was disappointed to find how little the Government have done to initiate a long-term, coherent strategy to deal with the consequences of population ageing
The Cabinet has not assessed the implications of an ageing society holistically, and has left it to Departments who have looked, in varying degrees, at the implications for their own policies and costs. The Government have not looked at ageing from the point of view of the public nor considered how policies may need to change to equip people better to address longer lives.
The ageing of the population is inevitable, and affects us all. The major changes the report proposes may take a decade to bring about, and should inform the priorities for the next spending review.
The Government should set out their analysis of the issues and challenges, and their vision for public services in an ageing society, in a White Paper to be published well before the next general election.
The Government elected in 2015 should, within six months, establish two commissions based on cross-party consultations: one to work with employers and financial services providers to examine how to improve pensions, savings and equity release, and one to analyse how the health and social care system and its funding should be changed to serve the needs of our ageing population. Both commissions should be required to report within 12 months.
The Committee also recommends that when political parties are working on their manifestos, they ought to consider the wider implications of the ageing society for the balance of responsibilities between individuals and the Government.