One of the most important challenges for the new States will be to ensure a secure and dignified older age for islanders – given that, within five years, more than 1 in 5 islanders will be over retirement age. I will push for policies which promote:
- Investment in community care and support in people’s own homes
- Affordable and accessible primary care (GPs and prescriptions)
- Improvements in services and support for people with dementia
- Decent pension rates and fair financial support for long-term care costs
Many more people will also take on caring responsibilities for a parent, partner, relative or friend (for reasons relating to age, health, or disability) – we must ensure that carers are valued and visible, and well-provided with information, practical and emotional support.
As politicians, we must be responsible to our whole community, and must not forget those who are vulnerable or marginalised. I will champion policies which tackle all forms of disadvantage in our community, including:
- Poverty – advocating for a comprehensive policy response to the complex social factors which cause or result from hardship: from insecure housing to hunger, and low wages to poor health outcomes.
- Disadvantaged children – delivering on the States’ commitment to giving every child the best start in life; actively tackling the risk of deprivation, abuse or neglect; and ensuring protection, opportunity, genuine care and hope for all children.
Working in the voluntary sector, I have seen local charities support people who are homeless; people who can’t afford to buy food; older or unwell people struggling in unheated homes; families torn apart by imprisonment, substance misuse or domestic violence. These issues often go unseen, but they are persistent and long-term, and require a response from the States.