Department for Work and Pensions
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Government listens to grandparents' opinions

Government listens to grandparents' opinions

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 12 November 2009

Grandparents and their representative organisations will today attend a cross-Government summit to explore the changing role of grandparents in society and talk to Ministers about how the Government can support them.

Topics for discussion include how families and childcare services can adapt to better meet the needs of grandparents, the impact of combining employment with care of their grandchildren and ways to provide more information to grandparents more effectively.

The findings from the summit will inform the forthcoming Families and Relationships Green Paper. The Green Paper will look at how government can better support all family members, including grandparents and how services can cater for their differing needs.

Yvette Cooper Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said:

"I know from personal experience just how important grandparents can be to help families juggle the demands of work and home life. Thousands of grandparents across the country are playing a vital role in all our lives and we want to do all we can to help support them, which is why today's event is so valuable."

Children's Minister Dawn Primarolo said:

"We know that policies need to accommodate the changing shape of families in which grandparents play an increasingly important role, particularly in the upbringing of their grandchildren. With the Families and Relationships Green Paper we want to look at how Government policies can better support today's families. I am delighted to have the opportunity to hear from the grandparents today to ensure their views are properly represented in future policies."

Michael Foster, Minister for Equality said:

"With the number of people over 85 set to double in the next 20 years, it is essential that older people are not written off because of their age. Today's event will allow us to explain how the Equality Bill will ban age discrimination and ensure older people play a full role in society and that they are treated fairly."

Notes to Editors

1. The Grandparents Summit was held at The Abbey Centre, Westminster.

2. Yvette Cooper, Secretary of State for the Department of Work and Pensions opened the event. Other Ministers from the Department for Work and Pensions, Department of Children, Schools and Families and Government Equalities Office attended throughout the day. Baroness Greengross of Notting Hill, chair of the all party parliamentary group Old and Young Together: Intergenerational Futures, was chair.

3. Next Steps for Early Learning and Childcare (Jan 2009) committed the Government to exploring how best services - with particular reference to Sure Start Children's Centres, extended services through schools and Families Information Services - can support grandparents who have childcare responsibilities.

4. The Government's strategy for an ageing society, Building a Society for All Ages, (July 2009) announced there would be a summit for grandparents this autumn.

5. The Equality Bill, introduced in April 2009 by Minister for Women and Equality Harriet Harman, sets out groundbreaking new laws which will help narrow the gap between rich and poor; require business to report on gender pay; outlaw age discrimination; and significantly strengthen Britain's anti-discrimination legislation.

6. The Equality Bill will ban age discrimination against people aged 18 or over when they are buying goods or using services, such as in shops, hospitals, and when buying financial products. Things that are beneficial, such as free bus passes, will still be allowed.

7. The Bill will also put a new Equality Duty on public bodies to think about the needs of everyone who uses their services or works for them, regardless of their age. For example, a library might provide IT training specifically for older people.


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