THE PENSIONERS' Parliament began in Blackpool last week with the biggest ever pensioners' demonstration of around 3,000 people. The parliament ended with a rousing, angry speech from Tony Booth, Blair's son in law, who berated the government and previous ones for their injustice against pensioners.
There were many speeches and sessions throughout the three-day conference. The leader of the Italian pensioners spoke to the delegates warning of the fights and challenges facing the pensioners' movement throughout Europe. He talked of the need to build a common struggle.
In a session on pensions a delegate pointed out that through general strikes, particularly in Italy and Greece, attacks on pensions had been defeated. In the same session a call for direct action went out to obtain a £10 increase in the basic state pension next year instead of the £2 rise proposed by the government.
But most felt an immediate uprating to £100 a week, accompanied by a restoration of the link with average earnings, was the only way pensioners could receive their fair share.
The parliament gave a resounding no to private pension schemes, as they did to stakeholder pensions, as they do not offer a guaranteed return. Delegates also called for improved services for pensioners in health, social care and transport.