Census reveals rapidly ageing local populace

CARING for East Lindsey’s rapidly ageing population could ‘swallow up’ the county council’s entire budget unless the government intervenes, a councillor has warned.

Last year’s census data, released on Monday, revealed that more than a third of the district’s residents are aged 60 or older, following a 26 per cent increase in that population group over the last decade.

Coun Colin Davie fears the ‘huge pressures’ this will place on Lincolnshire County Council could leave it unable to deliver other services and has called on the government to change its funding formula.

He said: “This census confirms that East Lindsey has a rapidly growing ageing population and we all need to recognise the huge pressures this will place on services in the future.

“By 2020, unless all political parties in Westminster recognise the need for a much more enhanced funding settlement from central government to manage these challenges, the entire county council budget could be swallowed up by the provision of care for the elderly.

“This, in turn, will put huge pressure on the delivery of services in other areas.

“We need government to start planning and funding for this provision now rather than leaving it until its too late.”

Overall, East Lindsey’s population expansion was below the seven per cent national average, increasing by just 4.1 per cent from 130,455 in 2001 to 136,400 in 2011.

However, its elderly residents, aged 60 and above, ballooned by nearly 10,000 in the same period and now accounts for a staggering 34.9 per cent of the district’s overall population.

Age UK Lindsey believes the figures demonstrate that better health has enabled greater numbers of elderly people to live for longer and continue having a positive impact on their communities.

But the charity also fears the population increase could present many challenges in providing care and support for the vulnerable elderly.

Chief executive Philippa Haresign said: “Age UK Lindsey is already seeing an impact, with a significant increase in the number of enquiries to our information and advices access centre by local older people, with cases becoming more complex.

“Thought needs to be given by local authorities on how to best meet this need, and how they can work with the voluntary sector to achieve good outcomes for our older residents.”