A new UK Longevity Council has been set up to advise on how best to use innovations in technology, products and services to improve the lives of the ageing population. This comes as part of the Government’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge.
With the number of people aged over 65 set to nearly double in under 50 years, the Government’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge is designed to harness the power of innovation to meet the changing needs of an older society.
It also aims to ensure that people across the UK enjoy an extra five years of healthy and independent living by 2035, whilst narrowing the gap between the experience of the richest and the poorest.
The UK Longevity Council is a vital part of this, says the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), bringing together business leaders, health experts and others to advise Government on the steps we can take to help everyone lead healthier lives, while exploring how the UK can position itself to lead the world in the growing market for age-related products and services.
Andy Briggs, business leader and insurance industry expert, has been appointed as the Government’s new Business Champion for the Ageing Society Grand Challenge and will co-chair the Council with Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock.
The Council will act as a forum for interactions and discussions between policy makers, industry, researchers and the public in the area of ageing. It will advise on:
- How we can think differently about work, finances, housing, communities and health, and explore new technologies, products and services that will benefit and enrich our older population.
- What the Government’s high-level priorities should be in relation to demographic change.
- Supporting both local and international work to ensure the UK is a global leader and UK businesses can capitalise on global opportunities.
Speaking on the project, Matt Hancock said, 'Keeping people healthy and independent is absolutely central to our vision for our healthcare system. Living longer should be celebrated but we need to think seriously about how we can adapt society more widely to meet older people’s needs. We must use our industry's incredible abilities in technology, design and innovation in new, thoughtful ways to support everyone to age well.
'Business has a vital role to play in providing inclusive products and services that are attractive to our older population and can enable everyone to stay living at home for longer and keep active. I look forward to working with Andy Briggs and the rest of the Longevity Council to help the UK lead the way in thinking creatively and originally about ageing.'
Business Secretary Greg Clark, said of the UK Longevity Council, 'More than 10 million people in the UK today can expect to see their 100th birthday, compared to 15,000 current centenarians.
'As more people live longer, we must ensure people can live independently, with dignity and a good quality of life, for longer by harnessing the best technological innovation and advances to help.
'Having a dedicated Business Champion in Andy Briggs...will ensure that UK companies remain at the forefront of these developments. This is a key part of our modern Industrial Strategy, ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of these new and emerging industries.'
Andy Briggs, Ageing Society Business Champion said, 'Britain has an ageing society, along with many other developed countries, and this provides challenges as well as opportunities.
'I encourage all businesses to embrace this excellent opportunity, both by developing world-leading products and services, and by employing more older workers.'
Mr Briggs will be aiming to build on his existing role as the Government's business champion for older workers and support the Government’s Ageing Society Grand Challenge to help create a highly skilled, highly innovative and high-quality economy that works for everyone, says DHSC.
To support the Grand Challenge, Government will shortly open the competitions for the £98m Healthy Ageing Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, to develop attractive products and services that help people of all ages to live better and more independent lives as they grow older.