Surprise, surprise! You will receive 25 whole pence age allowance each week when you reach your 80th birthday!

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2021 Virtual Retired Members Conference
29 June 2021

This age addition increase was introduced in September 1971 by Sir Keith Joseph, a Conservative MP. He said it was to recognise ‘albeit in a small way the special claims of very elderly people who need help rather more than others. As they grow old their possessions wear out and they need help for necessary jobs they used to do themselves’ (Hansard). Nothing has changed that situation since 1971 and does 25 pence per week extra fulfil that need? No, of course not!

In 1971, 25 pence was 4% of the basic State Pension and would buy, for example, either 12 large eggs or one pound of bacon or one pound Cheddar cheese or 4 white loaves costing only 23 pence! Today, 25 pence doesn’t even buy a first class stamp or even a 2nd class stamp! Sir Keith Joseph’s good intentions have long been forgotten since his statement 48 years ago. No Government has ever considered raising the 25 pence to a more substantial amount to meet all the extra costs an 80 year old incurs. Taking account of inflation, the age addition allowance at 80 years and over should be £50.

MPs and all political parties rely on pensioners to vote and as there are over 11 million of us, we should encourage them to include in their manifestos an increase in the age allowance for the pensioners reaching their 80th birthday and over.

Unison retired members are among the pensioners included in this campaign and some probably don’t realise that this paltry amount will be paid to them when they are 80. No publicity has ever been given to this sad state of affairs during the 48 years since it was introduced.

The number of cold-related deaths amongst the elderly increased substantially in the winter of 2017 (Government Office for National Statistics 30 November 2018). How much warmth does 25p buy these days?

Conference therefore instructs UNISON National Retired Members Committee and calls on UNISON National Executive Council to:

1)campaign urgently for a substantial increase to the weekly age addition

payment of 25 pence to state pensioners aged 80 and over;

2. report back on progress to the Unison National Retired Members Conference 2022.