● Older people in Wales are at a higher risk of financial exclusion, with many not aware of what they are entitled to. In addition to this, around three quarters report not having any savings. 140,000 older households are reported to be living in fuel poverty.
● Numerous polls have suggested that older people are more likely to support a Brexit than their younger counterparts. However, there has been little investigation into how a Brexit would affect this particular demographic.
● Older people make up more than a third of the population of Wales - it is a large and diverse group.
What are the benefits of EU membership?
● Retirement is something to enjoy, our membership of the EU gives UK citizens the freedom to spend their well deserved retirement in any EU country. A state pension and a registered S1 health form is all that you need to access the healthcare system of another member state.
● An aging population is a demographic change that is affecting the whole of the EU, as birth rates are declining, people are living longer, and the “baby boom generation” is reaching retirement age. In 2013, 18% of Europeans are aged 65 or over, but this is expected to reach 30% by 2060. This means that this is a change being felt across Europe - and will need cross-border reactions.
● In terms of EU treaties, Article 19 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union empowers the EU to legislate against discrimination in terms of age as well as sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion, disability and sexual orientation. Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU explicitly prohibits discrimination based on age. Article 25 of the Charter also recognises the right of the elderly to lead a life of dignity and independence and to participate in social and cultural life.
● In terms of secondary law, the EU's Employment Equality Directive generally prohibits age discrimination in employment and occupation.
● The EU's European Employment Strategy provides a framework for coordination of policy in line with overall EU recommendations. According to guidelines adopted in 2010, Member States are to increase labour market participation of people aged 50 and over through active ageing policies dealing with work organisation and lifelong learning.
What would happen if we left the EU?
● A Brexit, and the resulting financial uncertainty, would have a negative affect on sterling and as a result on British pensions. While this would probably level out over time, in the short-term there could be significant repercussions.
● There are more British people living elsewhere in the EU than there are EU migrants to the UK. Should the UK leave the EU, we could expect many of these to return. A large proportion are people who have retired to places like Spain - if they were to return, they would add to the already growing pressure on vital services for older people, like the NHS and care providers.