50-point manifesto for the 50+ voter

High50
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a large group of arriving...
  • There are almost 24 million people over 50 in the UK

  • That's 44% of the 18+ adult population

  • 89% of people 65+ say they will definitely vote

  • Only 52% of 18 to 24-year-olds say they will definitely vote

  • It's the High50 election, and this is our manifesto


Workplace

1. A nationwide programme to educate employers about the value of retaining experienced workers. Business In The Community estimates that there one million jobs for 50 to 65-year-olds have been lost since the recession as companies cut "expensive" older workers.

2. A national programme of 50+ internships. A few companies, including Barclays, High50 and others, have a 50+ intern scheme.

3. A re-evaluation of the merits of potential job sharing and other flexible working initiatives, particularly home-working. 'Older' workers may still want to work, but perhaps not always 40+ hours a week.

4. National Insurance incentives or tax breaks could be introduced to incentivise employers to take on staff over 50, often those who are long-term unemployed.

5. Funding for a national initiative around reverse mentoring, particularly with regard to social media and other technology.

Business entrepreneurs

6. As more people start businesses in their 50s than any other decade of life, and more of them succeed, it's time for a specific advice programme tailored towards 50+ entrepreneurs.

7. A reappraisal of the difficulties would-be over-50 entrepreneurs face in getting business loans.

8. A new financial services code of code of content. No more excuses.

9. A new focus on technology education or re-education for older entrepreneurs and those returning to the workplace (for example, coding, SEO and in-depth knowledge of social media as business tools).

Pensions and investment

10. Help for people to understand the new pension regulations, addressing head-on the lack of comprehension among the general public. This needs to go beyond Pension Wise.

11. Further legislation regarding data protection and cold-calling to help protect older people from potential abuse, e.g. simple abuse-reporting systems . There also has to be a widespread awareness campaign in this area.

12. The already much-misunderstood subject of 'annuities' has to be explained better and made more attractive, particularly given the recent announcements.

13. A new series of checks for those who are at risk of blowing all their pension money.

14. A rethink of traditional savings plans so that there is a raft of products; for example, with the potential for higher rates for older savers. Older savers have been hit badly since the recession, particularly given the lack of movement on interest rates.

Death and inheritance

15. A major education programme around the subject of wills, tax and inheritance.

16. Where are all the new inter-generational shared ownership initiatives that would help parents to help their children on to the property ladder?

17. A new flexibility around area of digital legacies, which necessitates the likes of Facebook and Apple recognising their sentimental and even financial value.

18. The thorny subject of funeral planning needs to be raised nationally in a sensitive but matter-of-fact way.

19. Government exploration of the possibility of excluding the family home from future inheritance tax. Readjust inheritance tax thresholds along with house price inflation.

Housing and property

20. A new approach to stamp duty that in particular introduces incentives or breaks that allow 50+ to downsize or 'rightsize'. Perhaps it's abolishing stamp duty for over-65s, or introduce a one-off one-move amnesty.

21. Explain the new Help to Buy ISA initiative. It is little known, let alone understood.

22. A government information and advice campaign on downsizing, rightsizing and their alternatives. It is badly needed as the property crisis intensifies.

23. New initiatives surrounding the subject of equity release. Lower the minimum age from 55 to 50.

24. A whole new range of inter-generational mortgages.

25. A complete overhaul of the rules surrounding buy-to-let and let-to-buy and around the issue of second homes.

26. A new banking initiative to make it easier for over-50s to get mortgages.

27. Build 200,000 new homes. Full stop. Offer developers incentives to build on brown field sites.

28. Thousands of new homes suitable for 50+ 'rightsizers', downsizers etc. In short, a different type of housing stock to accommodate the different requirements of an ageing population. This could mean new-style communities for 'grown-ups' that are most definitely not retirement villages, nor hippy communes.

Ageism

29. A new government campaign to stop ageism being the last acceptable '–ism' in society. Further, it can't be condescending or patronising, particularly in its choice of imagery.

30. New employment legislation to help prevent ageism in the workplace and recruitment, while recognising that legislation can only do so much to change public awareness and attitudes.

31. Major new research to understand how people change as they age. Not just at the time we physically look older, after 60, but what happens to us around 50 and menopause.

Care for the elderly, our parents and others

32. Greater understanding and respect for carers enshrined in employment legislation. Including further financial relief and support for full-time carers.

33. New rules to help prevent the Government literally or metaphorically 'grabbing' property in lieu of subsidised care costs. Care assessment procedures to be overhauled, speeded up and have nationally benchmarked standards applied.

34. A rethink on the subject of how to free up cash to help pay for care. For example, tax-free withdrawals from pensions under new rules or new tax-free care savings plans.

35. A new national approach towards mental health care, giving it the same priority as physical care. This applies not only to issues like Alzheimer's, but to mental health and wellbeing, from stress and anxiety to the menopause.

36. A new approach to safeguarding the elderly in care – perhaps new national guidelines and standards.

Health and care

37. As life expectancy rates continue to rise, there is a new tide of depression and loneliness among ageing men in particular (they lack female friendship networks). This needs to be acknowledged and catered to. Make care in the community meaningful , for example by bringing back home visits by GPs.

38. Menopause-related issues need to be pushed up the health agenda and taken more seriously, in both the home and the workplace. The M-word has to be taken more seriously as a life event and not left unspoken – just as pregnancy, paternity leave and childbirth are. Employers and co-workers alike need educating.

39. Further develop a huge increase in health awareness, particularly prevention, in an attempt to head off some of the massive future costs of an ageing, unhealthy population on the NHS. A renewed focus on smoking, drinking, obesity and exercise and the dangers of sedentary lifestyles. A new focus on 'small steps towards big changes'.

Benefits

40. Repeal the iniquitous bedroom tax.

41. A fundamental re-evaluation of the Carers' Allowance, and at the very least safeguard it from cuts.

42. Safeguard the winter fuel allowance and other currently universal pensioner benefits.

43. Longer-term planning around the state pension and linking it to real-terms RPI.

Government

44. A referendum on Britain's membership of the EU ASAP. No ifs or buts.

45. As Scotland, NI and Wales get ever more self-determination, a new debate on the role of non-English MPs' ability to influence English law.

46. A sensible, rational national debate around the subject of immigration quotas, without the very idea being deemed racist.

Transport

47. Safeguard the freedom pass and other travel discounts, both for the economy and the environment.

48. Rethink HS2. It is simply not needed. There are so many other things that could be done with the £50bn, ranging from a massive public health awareness and prevention programme to workplace re-education initiatives for 50+ employees to a new approach to co-funding carers.

49. A new graded fuel tax with discounts for low-mileage users.

50. Freeze or even scrap airport duty. It is prohibitively expensive for the 50+ consumer who takes several holidays a year and is therefore harmful to the travel economy.



Related Articles from High50:

What the April 2015 UK pensions reform means for you

Should I put all my eggs in one basket and take my pension as a lump sum?

The 13 most Frequently Asked Questions about what to do with your pension

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