CALLS have been made for more support for pensioners as figures show Northumberland’s ageing population.
The new Office for National Statistics (ONS) data reveals the amount of people aged 65 and over in the former Castle Morpeth area is estimated to be 29.2% of all those living there by 2031, up from the current 21.2%.
Although medical advances mean the UK population will generally live longer than at present in 21 years’ time, the local estimates and those for the other former district council areas in Northumberland are well above the British average of 22.2%.
The ONS Age Map shows that the sharp age increases in population have already begun in some wards and will start in the next few years in the others.
Now charity workers and MP Sir Alan Beith are calling for action to give the growing pension-age public the support they need and ensure the numbers of younger residents will be better than predicted.
Age Concern Northumberland Chief Executive Gary Brown believes the impact on key services means that the Northumberland authorities need extra Government money to deal with it.
“The projected increase will undoubtedly put an enormous strain on services in Northumberland, including health care, social care, housing and transport,” he said.
“Northumberland Care Trust and Northumberland County Council are fully aware of the rising older population.
“However, they both need more money from central government to meet these needs rather than the proposed budget cuts.”
Sir Alan, who represents the Berwck constituency, thinks it is vital for the county to have better employment prospects if the decline in 16 to 49-year-olds across Northumberland is to be slowed.
He said: “In my constituency we already have a significant proportion of older people and this forecast shows a marked increase over the coming years.”
To view the ONS Age Map, visit www.statistics.gov.uk/ageingintheuk/agemap