Managing the UK’s Ageing Population

The UK has an ageing population due to its relatively high wealth and development.  In 2005 16% of the population were over 65, this is predicted to rise to 25% by 2041 because:

  • Life Expectancy rise – 1980 – 2006 saw a life expectancy rise of 6 years for women and 4 years for men.
  • Baby booms getting older – 1940 and 1960 baby boomers getting old and retiring.
  • Birth rate falling – due to greater equality for women. Lower birth rate so ratio of elderly increases.

Problems:

  • Pressure on the pension systems – removal of final salary schemes in the UK, state pension paid for through taxes so not enough working age people means pensioners are paid less.
  • Increased poverty – State pension not a large amount and many don’t have any other income or savings meaning they struggle to afford necessities.
  • Pressures on health service – Pensioners use it more. Average stay 13 nights for over 75 while just 8 for population as a whole.

Strategies implemented to try and combat this:

  • Increased age of retirement – currently 65 for men and 60 for women (rising to 65 to be equal with mens by 2018). Rising to 68 by 2050. Sustainable as doesn’t increase whole population however may mean more jobs are needed.
  • Encouraging immigration from working age people – Open doors immigration from EU. 80% of migrants from Poland in 2004 were below 35 years old. Only Sustainable if needs of new people are met through sustainable means.
  • Encourage babymaking… – working tax credits make it easier for families to work and have children as does recent introduction of free school meals for certain age groups. As with immigration this is only sustainable if the needs are of the new population are met through sustainable means eg. Renewable electricity. ~