Over 50s vote key to election result

Posted on: 15 April 2010 by Gareth Hargreaves

Older voters could decide the outcome of the general election, says new charity, Age UK

With more than 17 million older voters in the UK, the outcome of the 6 May general election could be decided by the over 50s.

New research reveals this group will be more influential in the 2010 General Election than ever before. It shows people aged over 55 will cast four out of every 10 votes and make up the majority in many marginal seats.

The 'Our Power Is Our Number' General Election campaign marks the launch of Age UK, the new charity formed from Age Concern England and Help the Aged.

Research conducted for the charity by De Montfort University reveals the over 55s will account for the majority of votes cast in 319 constituencies across Britain. Politicians cannot afford to ignore these numbers and Age UK’s election campaign is urging older people to use their vote and ensure candidates engage with issues which are important to them.

The research also shows that ‘grey’ majorities are likely in 94 marginal seats where securing votes among the over 55s could tip the balance of power between the main three parties. Of these 94 seats, 38 are held by Labour, 19 by the Liberal Democrats and 34 by the Conservative Party.  With the loss of just 32 seats being enough to overturn the Government’s majority of 63, the ‘grey’ marginals are a significant battleground.

Michelle Mitchell, Age UK Charity Director, said: “This research shows that older people’s votes cannot be taken for granted and that many people are not lifelong supporters of one political party.  It also illustrates that when we talk about older voters, we’re talking about individuals, not a voting bloc.  Just as with all ages, the over 60s care about a variety of issues and their decisions are based on families, hopes and worries for the future.”

The aim of the campaign is to reach out into local communities across England harnessing the voices of older voters and encouraging individuals to ask the right questions so that candidates provide answers on the issues that matter most to people and earn their votes. Individuals will be presenting their local candidates with the Age UK manifesto and calling on them to commit to five key election pledges to improve the lives of older people including:

  • reforming the failing social care system,
  • improved pensions,
  • axing ageism and ending forced retirement,
  • making the NHS fit for later life,
  • enabling older people to play a greater role in society.

To find out more and to join the campaign click onto the website at ageuk.org.uk/election or contact your nearest Age Concern.

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