Socialist Worker

Pensioners demand fast action on cuts

by Viv Smith
Issue No. 2226

Pensioners join a lobby of parliament on Wednesday of last week  (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Pensioners join a lobby of parliament on Wednesday of last week (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Up to 1,000 pensioners took part in an angry rally outside parliament to protest at cuts to services and attacks on pensions on Wednesday of last week.

The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) called the event.

Dot Gibson, general secretary of the NPC, said that council funding cuts would hit older people.

She said, “They are going to cut services that our people depend on and that’s going to have an enormous impact on frail, elderly and disabled people.

“They will be left isolated and at risk.”

She added, “We are not prepared to go back to the poverty and want of the 1930s.”

There was a real sense of urgency at the rally—and no patience with those who wanted to wait before taking action.

Mick Leahy, president of the TUC, called for a mass turnout on the TUC’s anti-cuts protest on 26 March.

But pensioners responded with shouts of “Too late!”.

Many of those at the rally are already struggling to make ends meet.

Theresa Cullen, 68, told Socialist Worker, “We have been asking to have the pension raised to £171 a week.

“They promised us £140 for 2015—that means nothing. It isn’t going to make wealthy people of us.

“I’m lucky, I have an occupational pension because I worked until I almost dropped. Even that has been frozen for two years.

“I’m pinching bits off my savings to get by which I will never be able to put back—and that’s my safety net.”

George, chair of the Islington Pensioners Convention, pointed out, “There are 5,900 families in Westminster alone—300 are OAPS—who will be turfed out and over 200,000 across London because of housing benefit cuts.

“The Tories will keep cutting.


“This is the opportunity for the Tories to get rid of the welfare state.”

Some of those demonstrating are worried that the Tories are turning the clock back to harsher times.

Gloria Findley told Socialist Worker, “We are going rapidly back towards the hungry 30s.

“Before the Second World War, my mother tried to manage on her husband’s £2 a week—she worked as soon as we were of school age—but she couldn’t do it.

“I remember when the welfare office came to visit her and told her to sell our wireless because it was a luxury—we are going back to that now.”

Laurie Dwyer, aged 79 from Portsmouth, added, “Privatisation is a problem too—using staff who aren’t paid properly and aren’t fully trained.

“When you means test benefits, it becomes more expensive. It shouldn’t happen.”

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Article information

Tue 2 Nov 2010, 18:06 GMT
Issue No. 2226
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