The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) is marking the UN Older People’s Day today with a call to maintain universal pensioner benefits, such as the winter fuel allowance and free bus pass.
The NPC’s Hands Off campaign is supported by UNISON.
Under the slogan “We’re an asset not a burden”, the NPC argues that rather than these benefits being too expensive, they allow older people to make a much bigger financial and social contribution to society.
Every £1 spent on free bus travel generates £2.87 of benefits for society and the wider economy, through voluntary work, unpaid caring and general expenditure, it says.
The free TV licences to pensioners over 75 are vital when two out of every five older people claim that television is their only form of company.
The winter fuel payment continues to help reduce the number of older people that die or get ill during the winter because they are otherwise afraid of the cost of heating their homes.
In total, older people contribute £40bn more to society every year than it costs to provide these benefits, says the NPC.
“One of the main reasons why we have these additional benefits in the first place is because the UK’s state pension remains so pitifully low,” says NPC general secretary Dot Gibson.
“Rather than keep criticising older people, it’s time we were valued for the contribution we make.”