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“A Fairer Scotland for Older People: A Framework for Action”

– in the Scottish Parliament on 4th March 2020.

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Photo of Brian Whittle Brian Whittle Conservative

7. To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on what progress it is making in implementing the proposals in its paper, “A Fairer Scotland for Older People: A Framework for Action”. (S5O-04210)

Photo of Christina McKelvie Christina McKelvie Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government is working with the older people’s strategic action forum to develop our first annual report on monitoring of the progress of “A Fairer Scotland for Older People: A Framework for Action”. The annual report will be published in April 2020, so it is coming very soon. It will report on the progress of all 56 actions that were contained in the framework, as well as identifying next steps.

Just last week I met the action forum, which is providing real expertise in terms of formulating our annual report. The work that it has done, and which its organisations are doing to realise actions, is extensive and exciting, so members should look out for the report when it is published next month.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

You are making Mr Whittle smile.

Photo of Brian Whittle Brian Whittle Conservative

You know how difficult that is, Presiding Officer.

Does the minister agree that ensuring access to activity in later life enables not only longer life but better-quality life, by tackling issues including poor physical and mental health and loneliness? If so, what is the Scottish Government doing to make such opportunities available for all?

Photo of Christina McKelvie Christina McKelvie Scottish National Party

I absolutely agree. That ties in to what we are doing on fairer work and on ensuring that people are retained longer in the workplace. Brian Whittle is absolutely on the money on how to tackle the challenges. For many old people, social isolation and loneliness are among the biggest problems that they face. In our work on the social isolation and loneliness strategy, we are working with older people and the action forum and we are applying their learning and experience to how we work with other organisations to deliver services that prevent social isolation and loneliness, while tackling it when people are experiencing it.

Just this morning, I was at Generations Working Together’s conference, at which I spent time with young people and older people who are working together to bridge the generation gap, to remove negative stereotyping, and to deal with the ageism that exists in our society that might prevent people from taking part in local organisations or events that are available to them.

Brian Whittle is on the money with what he says, and we are on the ball with it. He should look out for the report when it is published: he will see the progress that we have made.