With less than three weeks to go until the General Election the results are still difficult to predict. No one party is consistently showing as being in poll position. This is certainly not politics as usual and commentators are saying that for the second time since 1974 Britain faces the prospect of a hung Parliament.
Unsurprisingly, politicians are fiercely jockeying for position and focusing their efforts on marginal seats and floating voters - those still undecided where to put their cross on the polling card.
This presents a prime opportunity for the older voter as the political parties court the significant 'silver vote'. Despite the common held view that the over 65s are consistent in their voting patterns, a large proportion are still wavering in the decision about which party best represents their interests. As findings in our most recent Silver Census survey testifies; they show that over two million grey votes are still up for grabs.
In our survey, we set out to understand a little more about the views of older people living in different parts of Britain. We wanted to know more about their attitudes to the issues being raised ahead of the General Election and their views of the political parties' policies.
Over two million pensioners - equivalent to one in five people over 65 nationally - are still undecided about who they will vote for in the General Election. The majority - 60% - feel that the political parties' current policies do not reflect their needs.
In particular, when asked about the spending cuts made by the present coalition government, 40% of the over 65s surveyed said they had made them feel less economically secure.
Older people have, by definition, seen many general elections and they want their concerns to be taken seriously. They are a more sophisticated and knowledgeable electorate than they are often given credit for.
The ageing population is often referred to as being an area of concern, with growing numbers of older people placing more demands on health and social care services. However, older people can provide real value to our society, for example by offering their skills and experience to younger generations. They are not looking to government for handouts but recognition and the means to be able to live independently.
While the battle rages over who will lead our future government, politicians need to pay heed to the views of the over 65s - who currently number 10million across Britain. During their lifetime this generation has made a huge contribution to the communities they live and work in and to the UK as a whole. It is imperative that whichever party - or coalition of parties - forms the next government it empowers older people to continue to lead full, active and independent lives.Suggest a correction