NARPO – The voice of retired police officers
NARPO – The voice of retired police officers

After 2022’s “Year of the Three Prime Ministers,” 2023 has seen politics settle down into more familiar patterns. That’s not to say things have been easy, with the cost-of-living crisis making things tough for many.

Later Life Ambitions’ commitment to the 250,000 older people who make up our three partner organisations has been unwavering throughout. It was these people – and their vision for the UK’s 11 million older people – who informed LLA’s asks in the new Pensioners’ Manifesto.

In the Manifesto, LLA addresses five key issues facing older people:

1. The absence of an Older People’s Commissioner in England and Scotland

2. The need for a National Care Service integrated with a free-to-use NHS

3. The importance of a government strategy to tackle digital exclusion

4. The necessity of protecting the State Pension and the triple lock

5. The need for the Lifetime Homes Standard to be strengthened into a National Housing Strategy

6. The importance of investment in accessible public transport networks

The asks in the Manifesto would empower older people nationwide to live their lives to the fullest. They are realistic, actionable and would benefit not only today’s older people, but future generations too.

LLA designed its Manifesto to have cross-party appeal, and it was with great pleasure that we launched it in Parliament on 21 November at an event hosted by Work and Pensions Committee Chair Sir Stephen Timms MP, with Work and Pensions spokespeople from the Government, Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, DUP, SDLP and Plaid Cymru all in attendance.

The Manifesto is already influencing policy, with LLA submitting evidence based on its digital exclusion and Older People’s Commissioner sections to the Women and Equalities Select Committee’s “Rights of Older People” inquiry in October.

As the General Election creeps closer, LLA recognises that many of you will be out campaigning or will want to get involved. To support your individual activity, LLA has created a toolkit to accompany the Pensioners’ Manifesto.

The toolkit includes resources on how to find and contact candidates; it’s important to engage with all candidates in your constituency, even if you feel that a particular candidate is likely to be more supportive. In addition to writing, LLA is encouraging members to seek face-to-face meetings as it is more likely to have an impact – and candidates will be interested in meeting with constituents in the run-up to the election. If you have met with a local candidate who then goes on to win a seat in Parliament, it will be much easier to arrange future meetings with them as an MP.

The election run-up is an important time to build relationships with future parliamentarians. If you secure a meeting, the most important thing is to speak about your personal story and how LLA’s asks will ensure yourself and other older people can have good quality, affordable social care, a fair deal on pensions, and housing which enables you to continue living aspirational later lives.

Although a date has not been confirmed for the election, this next year or so will be essential to making older people’s voices heard. With our Manifesto and Toolkit, Later life Ambitions and NARPO will continue to fight for what matters to you.