Dear Secretary of State for Work and Pensions... You will be at the helm of the Department for Work and Pensions in circumstances few would have predicted a few weeks ago: a worsening labour market and the prospect of a recession. Adjusting your department to this new reality should be your top priority.
That last point, which for many gets to the heart of why the ambitions for the Care Act aren't being realized, is certainly a fair reflection of the current climate. However, for me, finding solutions is as much about creativity as it is requests for more money. Carers do amazing work in their unpaid role, and as a society we need to show the same resolve in finding ways to support them.
This is the year that Volunteers' Week has been extended from seven to twelve days, enabling more people to take part. The final day coincides with the Patron's lunch: a celebration of Her Majesty the Queen's lifetime of service to more than 600 charities and organisations, on the occasion of her 90th birthday.
Maybe it's because we like to feel that we're right. But if this is the case, we need to be careful that we don't end up eliminating democracy in the process. Since democracy relies on everyone's ability to challenge those in power. And how can we do that, if people are shamed into keeping their views to themselves?
How we move the agenda beyond seeing a person through the prism of their age is something that I fear will be a long hard road to tread. Older people are seen by many younger people as an unnecessary drain on public resources, while at the same time many older people who want to contribute more to society are restricted from doing so by ageist policies and practices.
The world is ageing rapidly. As fertility falls and life expectancy grows, the num-ber of older people in both the developed and developing world is soaring. By 2050, there will be more than 2 billion people aged over 60 on this planet, out-numbering children below the age of 15 and accounting for 21.5% of the global population.
Our current economic system faces many problems. In 2007 we went through a major crash, for reasons way beyond most people's understanding. Interest rate setting, the Libor scandal, the subprime mortgage scandal and many other such activities, demonstrated a calamitous manipulation of the economy in their own interests by a bunch of 'financial experts' in suits.