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Tomorrow's World: The Future of Ageing in the UK

This report describes the future challenges and opportunities posed by an ageing population and argues that our society is not adequately responding to ageing today. Instead:

  • The social care system is crumbling and health care is failing to incentivise the prevention of ill health.
  • The housing and planning system is failing to respond to ageing, resulting in people living in housing which does not meet their needs.
  • Individuals are currently underestimating their life expectancy and risking running out of money in retirement.

The report emphasises that without action today, the picture in 10 years time could be much worse. The report predicts that average pensioner incomes will start falling as more people retire with a less generous state pension and without the benefit of final salary pensions.

If urgent action is not taken to address the challenges posed by population ageing, the ILC-UK presents a future in which health expenditure has increased debt as a proportion of GDP to 180%; more than 1 million additional care workers are required to meet the demand for social care; and millions have failed to save enough ahead of retirement.

ILC-UK predicts that:

  • Without action to better support more disadvantaged social groups and communities, the gap in life expectancy between the wealthy and the poor will continue to increase.
  • Without action to address the current funding and workforce shortages in health and social care, the future needs of our ageing population are unlikely to be met.
  • Without action to better highlight how long people are likely to live, and the measures that they need to take to ensure financial security later in old age, even wealthier older adults may experience financial difficulties in later life.
  • Without action to encourage and facilitate longer working lives we will see a future drop in the UK’s employment rate and reductions in overall productivity.
  • Without action to build more houses, and houses which are adapted to the needs of older people, the housing shortage will continue.

The report proposes 10 long-term indicators of progress.

  1. Health must find a way to be more responsive and preventative
  2.    Government must make progress in delivering a long term settlement to pay for social care
  3.    Savings levels for working age adults must increase
  4.    Average age of exit from the workforce should rise
  5.    The number and type of homes built should be increasingly appropriate for our ageing society
  6.    Government should make progress in facilitating greater risk sharing in accumulation and decumulation of retirement income
  7.    We must have a more informed older consumer
  8.    Our aspirations for retirement must be about much more than us spending more hours watching television
  9.    Businesses should better respond to ageing
  10. We must strengthen the social contract between young and old