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2015 National Retired Members Conference
1 January 2015

Conference, elderly and retired people deserve to have a decent state pension.

Conference asserts that the state pension is not a benefit but is ours by right.

Conference believes that older people are being hit particularly hard by current austerity measures.

The basic State Retirement Pension which for many on the 6th April, 2015 will be £115.95 (for a single person) is well below the poverty line and is hardly an adequate amount to live on, even in the most modest of households. The TUC assesses that pensioners need an amount that is higher still than this.

Britain in the Daily Telegraph was recorded as being one of the worst places in Europe for State Pension, countries like Austria, Finland and Belgium were rated above average, while maintaining relatively strong public finances. We are told we are recovering as a country financially, yet we live with this shame that our pensioners live well below the poverty line.

We have contributed and continue to contribute to a system which is grossly unfair. Britain is also reported to be at the bottom of the world league tables.

This Government has known we are an ageing population and there can be no excuse for paying one of the worst pensions in Europe, despite enjoying better economic growth than its European counterparts.

31,000 pensioners died of hypothermia in 2012/13 (Daily Telegraph 16/11/13) despite the winter fuel allowance. The number had doubled in the previous five years.

The current system lets women down because their responsibilities in the home affect patterns of work and contributions towards pension.

Taking into account the cost of housing, fuel bills, food costs and health conditions, many older people are struggling to survive and to have the dignity and security they deserve in retirement.

We need a decent state retirement pension that enables us to live rather than exist and is fair to all.

Conference calls upon National Retired Members Committee to continue to highlight this issue as a priority.

Conference instructs the National Retired Members Committee and calls on the National Executive Council to liaise with the National Pensioners Convention and other appropriate bodies and groups to campaign involving all levels of the membership to achieve a Living Pension which calls for.

1. A weekly State Retirement Pension which allows every pensioner who receives no other income to pay for necessities and enjoy social and leisure activity;

2. A basic State Retirement Pension above the official poverty level that is the same basic amount for every pensioner;

3. Pension equality available to all age qualified citizens so that no one has to claim pension credit;

4. Pension increases every year measured by average earnings increase, RPI, CPI or 2.5%, whichever is highest;

5. The National Insurance Fund to be ring fenced;

6. Dignity and security in retirement.