Socialist Worker

Pensioners 'poor, trapped, isolated'

Issue No. 1719

Time to get angry, as survey reveals

Pensioners 'poor, trapped, isolated'

MOST PENSIONERS' lives have not improved under New Labour. More than a million elderly people feel trapped at home and can go for weeks without speaking to anyone, according to a survey by Help the Aged. Some 630,000 pensioners said they felt as though nobody knew they existed. The survey says such feelings are concentrated amongst the poorest pensioners. Many pensioners are condemned to isolation because their pension does not stretch beyond basic necessities.

The government is refusing to raise the state pension to a decent level by restoring the link with average earnings. The health of the elderly and infirm is put at risk by not being able to leave their houses. Over half a million people who are housebound are at risk of becoming blind because they cannot get regular eye tests.

Such eye tests could save people's sight and prevent diseases like glaucoma. But the Royal National Institute for the Blind says eye specialists do not get enough funding or training to do home visits. New Labour has cut support services and mobility services which provide transport for the housebound.


7 November, central London

called by the National Pensioners Convention

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Article information

Sat 21 Oct 2000, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1719
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