Stephen Byers, the former cabinet minister, today called for older people to be given much greater political priority.
Delivering charity Counsel and Care’s annual Graham Lecture, Byers called for a new target to reduce pensioner poverty and for the carer’s allowance to be extended to pensioners, the latter at a cost of around £150m a year.
The ex-minister, who is still seen as an influence on prime minister Tony Blair, also demanded an open debate on the funding system for adult social care to develop a consensus for reform ahead of next summer’s comprehensive spending review.
Speaking to Community Care ahead of the lecture, Byers said: “It’s going to be quite a tight spending review. We need to raise these issues [to influence it].”
He also gave his backing to calls for carers of older people to be given tax-free vouchers to pay for services for loved ones, and proposed a new national helpline for pensioners and an older people’s commissioner for England, as in Wales.