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2019 National Retired Members Conference
10 June 2019

It is acknowledged that younger people are facing significant falls in living standards; however, this is not as a consequence of older people stockpiling all the wealth, as suggested by the House of Lords Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision (April 2019). On 25th April 2019 the above committee called upon the Government to: “Take steps to deliver a fairer society by supporting younger people in the housing and employment market, and deliver better in-work training and lifelong learning to prepare the country for the coming 100-year lifespan.” The above committee believes that some of this can be achieved as follows:

1)Removal of the ‘triple lock’ for State Pensions;

2)Phase out free TV licences based on age;

3)Free bus passes and Winter Fuel Payments should only be available five years after a person becomes eligible for the State Pension;

4)Better off workers over State Pension age should pay National Insurance while they continue to work.

Thus, the House of Lords have concluded that the young are being denied a chance of buying or renting a home because overindulged pensioners soak up loads of ‘benefits’ most of them do not need. The privileged members of the House of Lords receive generous daily allowances and subsidised food and drinks as well as being able to claim expenses for various activities. It follows that they are not in any position to judge what is a reasonable quality of life for the older people of our society.

Our young people are our future and need well paid employment and affordable housing or rental accommodation. Constantly rising rents, the cost of living, and benefit freezes affect both old and young, and the House of Lords, the Government and other bodies must stop trying to divide the generations by creating myths about pensioner wealth. We need the support of each other, and we need to retain the benefits that we have now so that when younger people reach older age they can have these or better benefits to help improve their quality of life.

Therefore, Conference calls upon the National Executive Council to work with National Retired Members’ Committee to:

a)Co-ordinate a nation-wide campaign involving agencies such as Age UK (including Age UK Scotland), National Pensioners’ Conventions, Pensioners’ Parliament, Scottish Pensioners’ Forum, and all relevant bodies to dispel the myth that all older people are wealthy and that by diminishing older peoples’ benefits that this would resolve the problems faced by older people;

b)Oppose any and all Government action to implement the recommendations of the House of Lords Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision report. This includes lobbying of MPs and possible march(es) to the Houses of Parliament;

c)Work closely with UNISON’s Young Members’ Organisation and encourage them to assist with the campaign and to disseminate information condemning the division of the generations to as many youth groups and bodies as possible.