RR20: Exploring the opportunities and challenges of an ageing population

26th May 2011.

The population of the UK is ageing. The growth of the older population raises both opportunities and challenges for policy makers and service deliverers at the local level particularly in terms of the impact that this change might have on the labour market and local economic vitality.

There is currently very little discussion within economic development about this issue, either in terms of forecasting demographic change and links with the economy, or how local economic strategy may need to respond.  To date, the debate has been dominated by concern about the potential impact of an ageing demographic on public health services, particularly the health and social care agenda and concern about the potential cost of this to central and local government.

This Rapid Research provides a swift and concise summary of the issues and examines how practitioners are responding at the local level, particularly to the opportunities of ageing.  Our findings in this briefing are based on an analysis of existing data and literature and  telephone interviews conducted with local authority officers, with the aim of starting to explore how councils are responding to the challenges and opportunities of an ageing population.