Don’t single out elderly like this for mass ‘lockdown’ punishment – Ros Altmann - Ros Altmann

    Ros is a leading authority on later life issues, including pensions,
    social care and retirement policy. Numerous major awards have recognised
    her work to demystify finance and make pensions work better for people.
    She was the UK Pensions Minister from 2015 – 16 and is a member
    of the House of Lords where she sits as Baroness Altmann of Tottenham.

  • Ros Altmann

    Ros Altmann

    13 thoughts on “Don’t single out elderly like this for mass ‘lockdown’ punishment – Ros Altmann

    1. Ros.
      Just saw your interview on the ‘ Sophie Ridge ‘ show.
      When the lockdown started , I emailed Matt Hancock and my M.P., Edward Timpson about the age of ‘ 70’ being used as an arbitrary figure for who is ok and who is not.
      The rumours lately have been that the ‘70’ figure is still part of their relaxation of the lockdown solution. On hearing the rumours I had to contact them again , below is a copy.


      I am getting very concerned about the latest rumours regarding the extension of the quarantine re., the arbitrary self isolation of all people over the age of 70.
      As in my previous correspondence, shown below, not all 70 year olds have a comfortable existence with no financial worries. I need to work and as I said before ,I am extremely fit and ‘self employed ‘.


    2. It is unthinkable to even consider treating older people any differently to the rest of the population. We have fought long and hard for equal rights and these rights exist in every single aspect of our lives. I am 71 and currently have 2 volunteer roles within the criminal justice system, having previously served as a magistrate. I like to think the work I do is of value but I am worthless if I am not allowed out in case I get ill. This cannot happen.

    3. Thank you so much for giving a voice to all of us so called older people. I am 74 visit the gym 3 times a week and walk 1.5 miles every day. I have a lot of friends who do the same. I help 2, 97 year olds and help look after a 4yr old as well volunteer in the NHS. I am a registered nurse and was a Director in the NHS and am perfectly able to make my own safety decisions. Please keep up speaking for us before they lock us down for another 3 months.

    4. Please Roz Alltman – don’t allow the Government to isolate the over 70’s. I am a widow on my own and very lonely. I am responsible and will take all measures to protect others but i need to be able to have some freedom and to be able to look after my dogs which have been costing me £10 per day to walk them in a field because the countryside has been closed. I am on a fixed pension and so far have paid out £360 just to walk the dogs for an hour each day.

    5. Dear Baroness Altmann CBE,

      In view of your interest in the elderly I am forwarding a copy of a letter I sent to the Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP:

      Dear Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP,
      I am receiving a lot of information about the possible return for some sports to be allowed to function and I am particularly interested in the sport of golf. I am 70 years of age and relatively fit & healthy and the sport of golf is my ultimate joy that keeps me happy as well as physically fit and mentally active. I am aware that the same feelings are shared by many who participate in the sport of golf and we all feel that it keeps us all physically and mentally engaged.

      People often say what does golf actually offer you? As golfers, there are many things the game offers including: physical exercise, friendship, competition, a break from everyday life and a chance to enjoy the great outdoors. Delving deeper, though, there’s even more golf gives you. It teaches you resilience, cooperation, manners and requires respect for your opponent.

      Some of the news that has been available indicate that the government are considering the recommendation for people 70 years and over to continue with lockdown/isolation for a period of 12 months or more or until there is a vaccine available. I can’t put into words how disappointed and depressed I felt and how such news causes much anxiety due to the thought of being marginalized and being treated as insignificant because of my age.

      Age in this instance is discrimination and it is wrong because it treats persons on the basis of traits that are immutable and not under the control of the individual possessing them. England Golf, R&A and other golfing bodies have published excellent examples of how the game of golf can be managed with strict measures of social distancing and strict management of the game itself. Knowing that many people as well as myself aged 70+ are more than capable to play a game of golf and to be deprived of this opportunity would be unfair and especially so on the grounds of age.

      I totally accept the statement by the BMA “A blanket ban of any section of the population being prohibited from lockdown easing would be discriminatory and unacceptable.” I am also aware of the headlines and article in the Sunday Times (Sunday 3 May 2020) “Set free healthy over-seventies, say doctors.” I do however realise that there are some people with specific underlying health issues who need to be protected more than others for obvious and beneficial reasons and I’m sure people in this situation would respect and apply this need.

      I strongly believe the game of golf lends itself to be to be managed in relation to the needs of social distancing and I am more than sure golf clubs if given the opportunity to open their courses are more than able to manage the required needs. I presume you are aware of the details that have been provided by ‘England Golf’ outlining how golf could be managed with some relaxation of the lockdown. I am sure that you are also aware that a similar programme is already being practiced in Denmark and I understand it is working well and being well managed by clubs and respected by golf members.

      In view of the above and the hope that there will possibly be some relaxation with the lockdown I sincerely hope that you are able to support the managed relaxation of lockdown so that both I (70 years of age) and many other people are able to participate in a sport that keeps us happy, physically fit and mentally engaged.

      I hope that you are able to assist in promoting the best possible plan to allow golf once again to be practiced and played by all irrespective of age.

      Kind regards,

      Laurence St Croix

    6. The government have never said all over 70 must stay in use yr commen sense if you have underlining issues stay in if you haven’t got any medical issues go out if you want but becareful I am 75 my husband has got Copd I have blood pressure so I will be stopping in but that is my chose .some times the media don’t help at all with a lot of false news that is why I don’t buy a paper any more at this time should all be pulling together not pulling each other apart .

    7. Dear Baroness Altman, Thank you for your article that I have just read in The Telegaph on the over 70’s being kept in lockdown due to their age and possible vulnerability. I would agree that this is totally discrimanatory – both my husband – aged 85 and myself aged 76 are perfectly healthy and there are many people in the same age group who are fit and healthy. My husband passed his annual check-up with flying colours just before the lockdown. Keeping those of us in lockdown under what I consider to be false pretences is wrong and cruel. All in this age group are in our twilight years, and would love to be able to see our children and our grandchildren and watch them growing up hopefully for quite a few years to come – of this we have all been deprived, but have understood the necessity of staying at home and distancing which is what we have done, but the time has come since we are now past the peak for everyone – no matter what age, to be released – sensibly – from lockdown. This attitude of the government’s reminds me of a commmunist state where we have no freedom to use our own initiative for the safety of others as well as our own.

      Thank you again so much for your support for the elderly in this situation.

      Yours sincerely,

      Ann Luke (Mrs)

    8. I am in total agreement with Baroness Altmann’s comment. Hearing Esther Rantzen’s opinion on LBC yesterday infuriated me so much that I emailed her with my opinion. How DARE they thinking of incarcerating us over 70’s and deciding that we are not able to have common sense – I am a fit 77 years old who until 13th march still had a dog walking business keeping me busy, active and outdoors daily come rain or shine. All of the sudden I am deemed vulnerable by age? Yes, we ancient ‘decrepit’ people who have contributed all our lives to the greater good are now considered incapable using our discretion but must stay isolated. Absolutely outrageous. Even more so when Esther Rantzen who is supposed to support the old, voices opinions like hers.
      Telephone ‘befriending’ ???? I have plenty people I can talk to on the phone all day long – people who are active and fit outdoor people need to GET OUT of their four walls to have some other environment to keep their spirit up. And what about the Government declining our tax contributions when we carry on working well into our 70’s? They are happy to take our taxes then, regardless of age. Baroness Altmann speaks for ME, if other oldies wish to look forward to living out their final years in lockdown, let them get on with it. They don’t speak for me. Common sense is not so common any more. But Age discrimination has yet again reared its ugly head as has patronizing and condescending. Thank you for fighting our corner!

      Gratefully yours
      Elke Clemetson

    9. Thank you for so readily expressing your concerns about the ageism implicit in the notions being mooted that there should be a blanket ban on people over a certain age, when/if the lockdown restrictions begin to be lifted.

      I have written to my M.P., Simon Clarke, about this issue and await his response. I don’t know how else I can make myself heard, but support you in your outspokenness. I was pleased to see you on the BBC Breakfast programme this morning, 4th May. We need more voices like yours and more forums where these concerns can be raised.

    10. Dear Baroness,

      We realise you have many letters about the current lockdown and how it is working so poorly for the majority of those it purports to be protecting (over 70’s), however as you have already raised the subject publicly we would still like to draw your attention to our problems.

      My wife and I are both over 70 and trying to obey the rules by self-isolating. However we have found it impossible to find any supermarket who will allow us to either ‘click and collect’ or receive a delivery. Without fail they all say they are fully booked and can accept no more customers for either!

      Not one supermarket asks whether we are over 70 or self-isolating, not one!!

      This is particularly galling when we have been customers of one company (Waitrose) for over 40 years, but are not amongst the idle generation who find it too much like hard work to actually do their own shopping and who still seem to be getting home deliveries despite being no-where near 70!

      Nor are we on the ‘list’ being published by the government as we are both in relatively good health, although my wife has had lung problems in the past. Even a personal conversation with the local Waitrose manager elicited nothing more than a “I can’t magic more slots” response.

      I did point out that there are lots of vans sitting idle in hire companies yards and out of work drivers who could easily provide extra delivery services, but he didn’t think it was his job to ask John Lewis management why they weren’t using these to expand their service.

      What is the point in the government telling us to stay at home when we patently cannot do so without starving!

      Whilst I do not expect you to solve our personal problem (we have a neighbourhood service that can do that) I believe the hypocrisy of these supermarkets needs to be exposed along with the complete uselessness of the governments advice and rules, which are clearly not being followed by any of the supermarkets as to helping the over 70’s. Perhaps more words from you in the House of Lords will change their way of working, but I won’t hold my breath.

      Kind Regards

      Nick & Penny Jardine
      18 Anthill Close, Denmead, Hampshire, PO7 6ND

    11. Boris Johnson’s statement today in the House setting out the new rules policy for the lock down from Wednesday 13th May onward in which he denies the over 70’s the same freedoms to exercise and see families and friends as the younger population is discriminatory. To target people purely on the basis of age regardless of whether they are healthy or not is outright age discrimination. I and my many friends over 70 who are extremely fit and active are to be further deprived of our usual exercise routine. Please oppose this blanket collective punishment and seek to have the criteria changed to reflect actual health as a determination to the right to exercise freely as enjoyed by younger people.

    12. Hi Baronness,
      I hope you are well and staying safe
      I would like to fully agree with your comments you are publicly making about lack of of adequate govt advice for out of lockdown for relatively fit over 70s.My wife and Are over 74 and have religiously following Boris Johnsons 12 week staying at home request8/9 weeks ago ie having shopping delivered and only making electronic Zoom/Houseparty contact with children/grandchildren .I am happy to continue this for the full 12 weeks but within next 3 weeks would expect to to see some effective advice for over 70s from Govt.Doubtless you may have seen your fellow peer Lord Sumptons comments on BBC yesterday where he had some interesting observations around cause of deaths and more pointedly mentioned that there is a risk with whatever you do or wherever you go and life has to be lived.
      Perhaps you together with Michael Palin and Lord Sumpton could perhaps appropriately lobby no 10.
      Very Best Wishes
      Alastair Brown

    13. I am a perfectly healthy 78 year old, offering to help at a food bank, experienced volunteer of many years standing, during lockdown delivering stuff for local hospital and running a community exercise group and welcomed ecstatically yesterday, but today told that due to ‘advice I am ‘stood down’ (never even started) as I am over 70!!! Up to date DBS etc
      I am steaming with anger and insisted that I know the source of this ‘advice’ so I can pursue this further on the basis of blatantly unacceptable ageism! Better. Thought you should be made aware. Heard you on the radio the other day, hence my communication

      Jean Hedden

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