Older People’s Independence

– in the Scottish Parliament on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of Liam Kerr Liam Kerr Conservative

6. To ask the Scottish Government how it helps older people to maintain their independence. (S5O-04209)

Photo of Christina McKelvie Christina McKelvie Scottish National Party

Work that supports older people’s independence happens across the Scottish Government. We are supporting older people’s services as part of the further £100 million transfer to local authorities in 2020-21 for investment in health and social care and mental health, which brings the total support for integration to £811 million in 2020-21.

In taking an intersectional approach to older people, we have developed regulations to give disabled people the right to make adaptations to common areas, we have issued guidance for local authorities to support delivery of more wheelchair-accessible housing, and we have funded amazing organisations that support independent living. We also continue to invest £210 million per year in the national concessionary fares scheme for older and disabled people.

Photo of Liam Kerr Liam Kerr Conservative

In 2017, the Scottish Government published a research paper called “Older People and Employment in Scotland”, which included three recommendations on ways in which the Scottish Government could help older people in work: to launch a publicity campaign, to lead events and workshops, and to review and promote opportunities for lifelong learning. Can the minister outline how the Government has implemented each of those recommendations?

Photo of Christina McKelvie Christina McKelvie Scottish National Party

Liam Kerr will know that Jamie Hepburn is leading on the fairer work principles. That work takes account of issues that relate to the older workforce.

For my part, I am taking cognisance of the fact that, in nine short months, in 2021, our population will have more over-75s than it has now. We also have more people in the workforce who are aged over 50. I am taking a keen interest in that, especially in respect of the challenges that older people face in the workforce. Some of my work with the women’s convention is to do with the menopause, and with disabled people in the workplace and the fairer Scotland work. My work to review the public sector equality duty is also taking real cognisance of older people in the workplace.

Specifically on the advertising campaign, I will get information from Jamie Hepburn for Liam Kerr, who can rest assured that we are working closely together to make sure that our older workforce is in flexible workplaces that support them if they are carers, or if they face challenges with their health or have long-term conditions. All those factors have been taken into account in developing our strategy for older people in the workplace