Socialist Worker

Fifteenth Pensioners parliament convenes in Blackpool

Issue No. 2050

The biggest ever poll to look at the government’s record on issues affecting older people was published this week – as leaders of Britain’s growing pensioner movement gathered in Blackpool for the start of the 15th annual Pensioners’ Parliament.

The Nationwide Age Referendum, organised by the National Pensioners Convention (NPC), has canvassed the general public over whether the government’s policies on pensions, council tax, long-term care and other issues have failed today’s pensioners and are in need of urgent reform.?

The result shows that 98 percent of all respondents (77,378) called on the government to act.

The same views will be expressed by the 2,000 delegates at the Pensioners’ Parliament.

Delegates were to vote on a statement, warning that pensioners at the next election will only support candidates who pledge to:?

  • Raise the basic state pension for all to at least £119 a week
  • Replace the council tax with a fairer system based on ability to pay
  • Provide good quality, free long-term and social care
  • Introduce free travel on public transport

Other issues which were to be discussed over the three-day event, in the form of parliamentary-style bills, included the privatisation of public services such as the NHS and the misuse by government of the surplus in the national insurance fund.

Joe Harris, the NPC general secretary said, “The state pension remains just £87.30 a week and at least 2.2million pensioners are still living in poverty.

“The link between pensions and earnings has been delayed until 2012, by which time three million of today’s older generation will be dead.?

“The government and other political parties need to realise that pensioners may well hold the key to who wins the next general election – especially as they are more likely to turn out and vote than any other section of the electorate.


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News
Tue 8 May 2007, 18:20 BST
Issue No. 2050
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