SPEECH BY LORD SAINSBURY AT LAUNCH OF AGEING
POPULATION PANEL REPORT
ON TUESDAY 13 JUNE 2000
am delighted to be here as the DTI's Foresight Minister to open
the debate about the outputs of the Foresight Ageing Population
am very pleased that we have a wide-ranging audience here this
evening. The variety of groups, organisations and companies represented
here, does, I think, illustrate the crosscutting nature of the
Ageing Population Panel's work in this much broader round of Foresight.
welcome this opportunity to talk to you because I see Foresight
as one of the most interesting and exciting parts of my job. It
focuses on the "demand" side rather than the "supply" side of
knowledge, and demonstrates a very practical way of planning ahead
for the unexpected alongside the probable.
has recognised that the growing ageing population poses new opportunities
and challenges for improving the quality of life and for wealth
creation. For example, someone born in the 21st century can now
expect to live 30 years longer than someone born in the 19th century.
And, by 2020, it is predicted that there will be 25.2m people
in the UK aged over 50 years of age compared with 19.3m in 1999.
succeed in this environment of rapid change, we need to get much
better at preparing for the future. This is why we, as government,
attach such importance to the Foresight Programme.
find the activities of the Ageing Population Panel particularly
interesting. It has focused on a process which affects us all,
and impacts on social and economic dimensions as well as the more
often considered technological changes.
Foresight, we are looking AHEAD to 2020 and developing visions
for the future.
identifies market drivers, threats and opportunities beyond normal
commercial time horizons, to inform policy and spending decisions
taken today. This is rather a dry description of what is an exciting,
dynamic process, to help build bridges between science and business,
and make knowledge transfer between such groups easier and more
is a technique which can help your group, organisation or company
move forward in innovative ways and make the best of the opportunities
that the future will bring.
is about embedding a strategic process applicable to any organisation
- large or small - which uses knowledge of what the future might
hold - to inform current decision making. This is a point which
needs to be stressed.
it was set up in 1993, it has already produced results. For example,
Foresight has led to over £520m being attracted to address technology
priorities it identified. It continues to have an influence on
education, training, and skills. Foresight has also been responsible
for developing extensive live networks of contacts across traditional
industrial, scientific, and increasingly social boundaries.
Foresight process enhances quality of life and greater wealth
creation for those who use it.
is, in short, a process which is a useful, practical addition
to the planning/strategy development tool bag.
the current round of Foresight, three thematic panels were established
alongside ten sectoral panels. These Panels have the clear mandate
of challenging the rest of Foresight, and the outside world to
stimulate interaction between different sectors and disciplines.
do this, the thematic Panels have the important role of helping
to increase participation, information exchange, and networking
- particularly at the boundaries of traditional areas.
of these new thematic panels is the Ageing Population Panel.
we move to 2020, the reshaping of the age pyramid will reach into
all corners of society. It offers fresh opportunities for both
large and small businesses. New markets for products and services
will open up in the UK as our population ages.
other countries around the world have similar - and in several
cases - more dramatic - age shifts. Within Europe, for example,
in 2050, the average Italian will be aged 53, rather than the
current 41 years old.
the Age Shift presents fresh challenges. By planning now, we can
fully grasp the potential and develop timely strategies to deal
with the issues.
established the Ageing Population Panel to raise awareness of
what having more older people and fewer younger people in our
population might mean, and what these changes might offer.
Panel has endeavoured to look across the entire population - that
includes you, your children, their children and even your parents
- and asked the question - "How will the demographic shift impact
on us all?"
is much work already under way - both of direct and indirect relevance
to - the impact of an ageing population. The Panel has considered
work which looks at the needs and wants of older people today,
it has sought out research underway to address the physical process
of ageing, and investigated initiatives to help individuals suggest
ways in which life in an ageing society might be improved. The
Panel has had the challenging task of pulling these many different
sectors together in a very short time frame, and identifying where
there is scope to build across them.
has been doing this by integrating its priorities with those of
the other Foresight Panels (for example, the Healthcare and Older
People Taskforce is run jointly by the Ageing Population and Healthcare
Panels). It has also identified a number of issues and priorities
that it would like wider views on and which have been set out
the panel's consultation document.
next speaker, Professor Robert Worcester from the London School
of Economics and MORI Polls will be talking to you on the demographic
aspects in more detail, so I will not develop it further here.
I will, however, note that, the message that the age structure
of the United Kingdom is changing is widely publicised. BUT, to
date, few - particularly - in the business and commercial sectors
- have shown any reaction to the possibilities which are opened
up by having proportionally more older healthy people in the population
as we move towards 2020.
its consultation document, the Age Shift, the Ageing Population
Panel presents for debate a number of drivers and trends that
will both shape and be shaped by the global demographic shift
towards older people. The Panel's longer term objective is to
use your input to develop the Panel's final report in November,
and within in, an agenda for action.
issues for debate now include:
flexible patterns of work, retirement and lifelong learning;
impact on financial services such as investments and pensions;
opportunities for leisure and retailing;
need for preventative and information-technology based healthcare;
implications for the design of products, public transport systems
and 'smart-wired' homes that will help to maintain independent
new applications for communications technologies.
Panel wants to know if it has identified the right issues. Are
there other important points which it needs to take into account?
Input from as wide an audience as possible is needed to address
these questions. Hence the need for consultation.
help develop its views, the Panel is asking the following questions:
the Age Shift highlight issues you think are important?
are the gaps and how might these be filled?
should be included in this consultation exercise?
are the roles of the different sectors?
can individuals prepare for the Age Shift?
are the priorities for action?
on, Jim Stretton, the Panel Chairman, will outline how the Panel
developed its consultation document, its key issues and how you
can get involved. The Panel and its taskforces have put in a great
deal of thought and effort in putting together this document for
you. I hope you will all feel able to take it forward, encourage
further discussions on it, and most importantly, come back to
this Foresight Panel with your thoughts.
issues addressed by the Panel are fundamental to the quality of
life of a growing proportion of the population, and the Government
regards them as of the greatest importance.
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