Lord Foulkes has secured a meeting with Government Pensions’ Minister Baroness Stedman-Scott to discuss the National Pensioners’ Convention’s call for an Older People’s Commissioner in England.
The Peer, who is Joint Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Ageing & Older People, tabled a Parliamentary Question in the House of Lords yesterday (19th October) to ask if the government is considering the appointment of a dedicated Commissioner.
Rt Hon Lord George Foulkes in the House of Lords.
Minister agrees to meet Peer’s deputation on Older People’s Commissioner for England
Department of Work & Pensions’ Minister Baroness Stedman-Scott replied that while the government does not have any plans at the moment, she is, “very happy to meet” Lord Foulkes and a deputation to discuss the proposal.
Speaking after the debate, where several peers spoke in support of Lord Foulkes, he said: “We are now one step forward to getting a Commissioner for England. The case is unanswerable and when we meet the Minister, the NPC along with other bodies, Peers and MPs will make a case that we hope will persuade the government to take the next step and start the procedure to agree a Commissioner for England”
Thanking Lord Foulkes for his work and support of the idea of a Commissioner who can champion older people’s rights, as they have in Wales and Northern Ireland, NPC General Secretary Jan Shortt said: “Lord Foulkes made a powerful case for Commissioners to fight for older people’s rights in all four UK nations at our recent NPC Annual Convention. So we are absolutely delighted that he has secured this meeting with the Minister and we look forward to working with him and other cross party politicians and organisations on the proposal.”
Lord Foulkes highlighted the work of Welsh Commissioner for Older People Heléna Herklots CBE, who he told the House of Lords, had successfully advocated on behalf of pensioners in Wales, particularly during the pandemic.
Among several cross party peers who spoke in favour of a Commissioner, Baroness Blackwood of North Oxford said if England had a dedicated older people’s Commissioner during the pandemic, then ‘horrific’ issues like blanket DNRs being placed on older Covid patients beds without consultation could have been avoided.
The NPC is currently in discussions with other older people’s organisations who support the call for a Commissioner for England.
Lord Foulkes, has described the growth of pensioner poverty as an ‘immense scandal’ and is also raising the idea of appointing a Commissioner in Scotland with the Scottish Government.
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