The July 2021 PAiL Newsletter

PAiL Newsletter July 2021

Section 1 – PAiL Campaigns

PROGRESS ON AGE-FRIENDLY ACTION PLAN FOR LONDON

The long wait for an age-friendly action plan for London continues but optimism remains!
We accept that covid has changed the policy arena in London and that recovery is now the priority for GLA with London buffeted by pressures and growing inequalities arising from the pandemic.  Together with other age groups that form the London Age Forum coalition we are lobbying for recovery to be age-friendly through the production of an age-friendly action plan.
Sadiq Khan’s manifesto promised, “While we’ve made enormous progress in ensuring London is a Dementia Friendly City, I’ll push further so that London is an age-friendly city whatever your circumstances”. Good progress was made during the Mayoral and Assembly elections in May in raising attention and this has continued since the election with the new assembly members. London Assembly has now published a motion in support of an Age-friendly London.
 
There have also been many written questions submitted by Assembly Members to the Mayor on Age-friendly London recently. Here are some CLICK HERE

Chris Walsh, PAiL’s chair will be meeting with Debbie Weekes-Bernard the Deputy Mayor for Equalities soon to press for the timings for implementation of an age-friendly so older Londoners can look forward to London finally becoming an age-friendly city.
For more detailed information about these actions, responses and our key demands visit https://pailondon.org.uk/mayoral-election/

LONDON RECOVERY BOARD

PAiL is continuing to press the London Recovery Board to ensure London’s recovery plan is age-friendly. The London Recovery Board are on record as committing to – “continue and expand the engagement of older Londoners in the programme to ensure all the recovery missions were ‘age-proofed’ and could demonstrate direct, tangible impacts on older people’s lives as they began to be implemented”. That’s the good news!
Our worry is that there isn’t a coherent approach across the nine missions to addressing age issues and risks of not having a realistic action plan. There are many issues affecting older people which don’t neatly sit within the mission priorities. Plus, age is competing with other inequalities for attention. The Board is setting up an inequalities group and we ant age to be included.
Much of the engagement with the public on the missions is being done online through Talk London which has surveys on issues and is meant to be the voice of Londoners. You can join it here – Home | Talk London – and do participate and give your views as we want to see more of the older people’s voice. One area out for consultation is strong communities see: London Festival of Ideas: Your Vision for strong communities | London City Hall.
PAiL will continue to lobby for an age-friendly action plan embedded in the missions plus work with trying to influence individual missions.

Progress on Age Friendly Boroughs initiative led by Councillor Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council

At the beginning of the year, PAiL participated in an initiative involving bringing together eight London Boroughs – Sutton, Camden, Hackney, Lewisham, Wandsworth, Islington, Southwark, and Westminster – who were keen on becoming age-friendly. Coined the “coalition of the willing”, the aim was to develop good practice and spread it across other London Boroughs.  The intention was for Boroughs to lead on the WHO domains and develop proposals. Case studies would be hosted on the London Councils website for other Boroughs to follow.
Some progress has been made – Camden and Sutton are involved in the Community Support and Health Services domain; Hackney would like to lead on Social Participation and Lewisham are deciding between Social Participation and Communication & Information
But despite a lot of good work on the health domain, work overall is proceeding though much slower than we would want. Other Boroughs are being sought to join this grouping and PAiL are investigating running a series of webinars for London Boroughs on age-friendly borough initiatives and helping train up both interested older Londoners in how to become active in developing age-friendly borough partnerships able to ‘age proof’ local plans and to offer training to council officers and councilors in carrying out practical age-friendly street audits and toilet audits. The PAil website now includes some of this evolving best practice – https://pailondon.org.uk/age-friendly-london-boroughs

Is Recover in london going to be age-friendly?

Building back better is the watchword for recovery in London. London Boroughs’ performance during the pandemic was on the whole exemplary – providing much-needed support for older people, working in partnership with the community, and innovating in real-time. But now we are beyond the worst, are London Boroughs taking older people’s needs into account as they produce plans for recovery?

PAiL asked all London Boroughs for information earlier this year about how they were planning for recovery and how they were shaping these to improve the lives of older people. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

London Recovery Planning

London’s Recovery Board has a bold agenda of “building back better” and PAil has been lobbying that older people’s needs should have greater prominence to help London become an Age-Friendly City and is working with the various missions. But the key is also to ensure that the voice of older Londoners is being expressed.  Unfortunately, much of the engagement is being done online through “Talk London” which has surveys on issues and is meant to be the voice of Londoners. You can join it here – Home | TalkLondon – and participate.  They are consulting on two areas at present – new technology in London Charter for Emerging Technology | TalkLondon and on how London’s adult education budget should be spent  Adult Education Roadmap Consultation | London City Hall and also have an online festival of ideas – London Festival of Ideas: Your Vision for strong communities | London City Hall


Section 2 – PAiL Information/Resources

Keeping Safe from Covid

Restrictions are being eased and we now have to assess the risks for ourselves. As Coronavirus is transmitted through the air, you can reduce the risk of catching it by:

  • Socialising outdoors whenever possible or in a well-ventilated room;
  • Keeping your distance to others.

And when this is not possible, wear a mask to protect yourself and the people around you. 
 
Bear in mind that only just over half of adults (55%) in London are fully vaccinated and there are many people who are not able to develop full immunity for various reasons.
 
Transport for London and many supermarket chains will continue to insist on mask-wearing. Other shops and venues may follow suit to protect staff and customers.

MIND THE DIGITAL GAP

Age UK London has produced an excellent and much needed report on internet use during the pandemic and digital inclusion and exclusion in London. The report, ‘Mind the digital gap: older Londoners and internet use during the pandemic’ demonstrates that the gap between those with and without access to the internet is widening and the capital is at risk of witnessing a growing digitally excluded underclass.

The report concludes that internet providers, the Mayor of London, and Local Authorities all have crucial roles to play and action is needed more than ever. Accelerating access to digital skills training to increase confidence online would make the single biggest difference.

OLDER LONDONERS’ POVERTY GROWS

Independent Age’s new research shows that levels of pensioner poverty have crept back up to numbers not seen since 2012. It has increased by 5%, with now almost a fifth of pensioners (18%) living in poverty after paying their housing costs in 2020. So, across the UK there are an estimated 2.1 million older people in poverty with 1.1 million classified as suffering from severe poverty. But of most concern is compared with all regions in England, London is rising faster than any other and has by far the highest rate of pensioner poverty, at 25% and this has risen 7% since 2012 – 2014. This illustrates the difficulties facing London and belies the image that all London is affluent. Other research shows that some of the most deprived areas across the country are in London which raises issues about the government’s “leveling up agenda with more resources going to the north.  But the key is the need for government to produce a more effective plan to increase the level of Pension Credit uptake. PAiL and other age organisations are also pressing the Greater London Authority and London Councils to look at measures to support older people in these dire circumstances.

EMPLOYMENT OF OLDER WORKERS

Wise Age one of the members of PAiL has received a grant from the Trust for London to promote best practise in age-friendly employment and provide training to low-skilled older workers across London. Despite all the attention given to the young being hit hard on the employment front, it’s forgotten that older workers are the second hardest-hit group. Many have exited the labour market and had their plans for retirement scuppered. There are worries that job losses will occur later this year as the furlough scheme ends in the Autumn and this will be tough for older workers.
New research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows that pre covid older workers were less likely to return to work after spells of unemployment than younger workers. Among all those unemployed in their late 50s, less than one in three returned to work over the course of a year, compared with about half of those unemployed in their mid-30s. Among older workers, the long-term unemployed are much less likely to re-enter work than those who have recently become unemployed. Those with lower levels of education and women are at risk here in being less likely to get jobs after becoming unemployed. Finding new work is tricky for some older workers – most older workers do not have much recent experience of searching for work.
Therefore, Wise Age is campaigning for bespoke training and advice for older workers supported by the GLA providing more adult education provision for older Londoners. But we also need to be vigilant about ageism in employment at this juncture and we need a Mayoral-led promotional campaign targeted at employers and the recruitment industry to promote the economic and social benefits of having an age-diverse workforce and employing older workers.

Make your voice heard on our online Discussion Forum
The new PAiL revamped website has a discussion forum for members.
It is very easy to use: 
Go to the home page www.pailondon.org.uk/community
The first time you use it, you will need to click on the ‘create an account’ at the bottom. Click on a topic to contribute to the discussion OR click on ‘Add a topic’ in the ‘Main Forum’ section to start a new one.

The July 2021 PAiL Newsletter

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