- 2016 National Retired Members Conference
- 9 June 2016
Conference notes that many older people are living well below the poverty level, which at present is £178 per week.
The UK State Pension is rated as one of the worst in Europe.
Pensions are not benefits but are in fact deferred wages from previous National Insurance payments and deductions from work and taxable income.
Older people and those with disabilities have been greatly affected by austerity. Increases in the cost of living, low interest rates and a loss of facilities through cuts, have hit them hard. Research from TUC has revealed that pensioners’ families will suffer cuts of £6-38bn under the government’s welfare reform.
It is crucial that older people continue to receive their universal benefits. Means testing is neither effective or efficient. Elderly people do not want the indignity and humiliation of having to prove their entitlement to assistance, consequently each year benefits to the equivalent of £3bn go unclaimed.
The government is spending less by increasing the state pension age. They claim we are all living much longer but, The International Longevity Institute UK found that in 2013 there were 30,000 fewer people in their nineties than previously projected and latest official figures show that life expectancy has now started to fall.
Now is the time to accept that there is an urgent need to substantially strengthen and reform a pension scheme that is over 100 years old and no longer fit for the purpose.
Conference instructs the National Retired Members Committee to campaign for
1) A weekly state pension that allows every pensioner without any other income, to not only exist and pay for the essentials but, which gives them the ability to lead an active life.
2) A single tier pension, which is the basic amount for every pensioner linked to average male earnings.
3) Equally available to all age qualified citizens irrespective of gender, so that no one is obliged to claim pension credit.
4) Report back on activity and its success levels to National Retired Members Conference 2017.