Pensioners Campaign UK
Pensioners Campaign UK
The Manifesto of Pensioners Campaign UK (2013)
1. To bring the Basic State Pension to a level that lifts pensioners out of poverty and how we would fund it (part 1 & part 2)
2. Introduce and enforce legislation that protects the elderly in care, in hospital and being cared for in their own home (part 3)
3. To put a stop to emotive and discriminatory references used to describe the elderly
and create resentment in the younger generations (part 4)
When looking at the present Basic State Pension (BSP) system we believe that it is not fit for purpose in
that it is:
1. It’s overly complicated in its legislation and needs a less complicated implementation whilst keeping the Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG)
2. It’s expensive to administer but the expense does not seem to apply good practice in making sure all pensioners get their full entitlements.
3. It keeps the recipients well below the UK poverty level and the Basic State Pension (BSP) needs increase to at least 2/3rd's of the UK National Average Income with an annual increase based on inflation and/or prices whichever is the higher of the two. Long term we want parity with the EU (8) (Belgium, Germany, Luxemburg, Portugal. Spain, France Italy and the UK) average GDP currently 11.2%
4. The complicated means testing discriminates in that it makes no allowances for age and disability in the ability to claim. Dedicated claim handlers trained to assist should be implemented as soon as possible with the aim of making sure every pensioner or vulnerable adult get the benefits and entitlements that are theirs by right.
5. Means tested claims are so complicated it leaves clients unaware of their entitlement which leaves huge sums unclaimed and it is discriminatory in that figures published and reported in the media are usually for the DWP as a whole rather than Pensions, Disability and Carers Services (PDCS).
We think this department the DWP should be broken down to isolate Pensions and it’s costs to give a more accurate figure on the cost of the Basic State Pension to the country and making claim handling more specialised taking into account the frailty of many claimants.
6. As of April 2013 the personal tax allowance is £9,205.00 after that your liability for tax kicks in. We think the BSP should be exempt from this calculation as BSP is an ‘entitlement’ not a ‘benefit’ but if you are now going to call it a ‘benefit’ then why should an unemployed family not pay tax on their benefits once the personal allowance threshold is exceeded as pensioners have to do. We feel this anomaly should be corrected one way or the other.
7. The two proposed new options for future pensioners do not address any of the above but actually add more layers of complicated legislation and creates an unacceptable pension divide in creating a two tier system that disadvantages current pensioners because it does not address current issues or cover MIG
8. The proportion of income that pensioners spend on Council Tax needs to be looked at again as it is causing considerable hardship for those who are just above the MIG.
We think it would be fairer to have a cap in place of 50% of the annual rate for all
pensioners regardless of whether they are a single pensioner or a couple.
How could any proposed increase be funded? £30 billion can be saved in up front tax
relief if the recommendations were followed £8.3 billion would then be saved on Pension
There is a surplus on the GDP pension allocation (6.5% = £88 billion and pensions
account for £53 billion = £102 BSP per week) of £35 billion
Huge savings could be made in procurement if purchasing followed Phillip Green’s recommendations and even if this was only concentrated on the Pensions, Disability and Carers Services would provide a substantial savings on the conservative estimate of £130 million a year spent purely administration costs and not including staff costs or public sector staff pensions.
If all of the above were initiated and implemented a £300 to £330 BSP entitlement would be comfortably affordable in accordance with the EU GDP average of 11.2% in the top six countries. This would also allow existing DWP staff to focus and be redeployed to address the issue of getting people of working age back into employment, training or voluntary work.
In principle the NI fund operates on a pay as you go basis with the contributions
collected each year being used to pay pensions and other entitlements in that year.
The Government Actuary, who reports on this fund every year, also recommends that
the fund should keep a balance of at least two months to cover any unexpected shortfall.
This fund is ring fenced and cannot be used for any other expenditure and we understand it has a surplus of £41 billion. The Investment Strategy previously required any surplus to be in gilt holdings with a maturity of less than 20 years and in 2007 57% was in stocks with a maturity under one year.
However, since 2007 the Fund has been fully invested in the Governments Call Notice Deposit Account, administered by the Debt Management Office, it is understood that these funds are on loan to the Government and while there is no suggestion that these funds are anything other than a ‘loan’ they should be used to increase current pensioners state pension and to alleviate pension poverty.
Care Homes – we would like to see new legislation brought in that identifies crimes
against the elderly and vulnerable members of the community whether resident in care
homes and abused or neglected or in their own environment.
This legislation should recognise the need for severe deterrents, more severe than if the victim was able to defend themselves, either physically or verbally by the ability to make a complaint.
The elderly, particularly those fragile physically, mentally or both need additional
protection and deterrents that prevent them being targeted because they make easy
Hardly a week goes by when there is not reported abuse of the elderly and while the penalties are weak the gravity of the crime is not.
Under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 an offence will
be committed where “failings by an organisation’s senior management are a substantial
element in any gross breach of the duty of care owed to the organisation’s employees
or members of the public, which results in death”. This needs to be extended to cover
any action or lack of that causes neglect and/or injury to person or persons entrusted
with their care.
There should be new legislation brought in to make managers, owners and directors
of any establishment with responsibility for caring for the elderly or vulnerable
jointly and severably liable for the standard of care provided whilst in their care.
This should include home care and hospitals as well as residential homes.
Crimes against the vulnerable - Elderly victims who are assaulted, abused or both often have their lives shortened considerably even if they initially survive the attack. They need to be confident in a civilised society that those who commit a crime against the elderly and vulnerable will be dealt with as severely as if they had attempted murder.
In most cases any attack on the elderly has the potential to cause long term issues making them to afraid to go outside their own homes therefore becoming prisoners. Is it not right that we should consider that when reviewing sentencing guidelines?
As mentioned above the media often portrays the elderly as becoming the reason for
the financial woes of
the country aided by how the government also portrays us. The perception will soon be that older people
will be ‘Job Blocking’ as the older we are forced to continue working we will be perceived as stopping
the younger generations from gaining employment. This will create resentment and more attacks on
older people and an increase in related crime on the most vulnerable in society.
Emotive and discriminatory references to pensioners
Bed Blockers – any elderly person who spends time in hospital is often referred to
as this. Also hospitals discussing evicting the elderly from their beds should have
brought instant condemnation from the Pensions Minister which it unfortunately did
Baby Boomers – this term is widely used by the government but it was the government post war that encouraged families to have more children to rebuild the population. Now they are insulted on a daily basis both by the media and by government in reference and documentation. Those same baby boomers form the best brains in Britain and rebuilt this country and should be shown respect for that.
Job Blockers – a new term since the unemployment in the under 25’s has soared. Traditionally as people retired everyone moved up the job ladder and new younger people were employed to start at the bottom. This is becoming less common now and the increase in retirement age does nothing to address the shortage of jobs at the bottom of the ladder. Therefore there will be an increasing resentment by the young as the older generations stay in their jobs longer either by force because of the higher retirement age or lack of a decent pension making people work on even after the increased retirement age.
State Pension Benefit – State Pension is an entitlement not a benefit as is the winter fuel payment; the cold weather payment and Pension Credit’s are benefits.
‘Spongers’ – because DWP combines Job seekers with Pensions the public perceives anyone on a ‘benefit’ as a ‘sponger’. This issue could be addressed by separating the statistics of both and also explaining in a more select and concise way the different entitlements and benefits and the difference between them. I will say again BSP is an right an entitlement and not a benefit.
Media Headlines – the implication is that the country cannot afford the ‘baby boomers’ as in some way we are perceived as being at the root of the countries problems and not a negligent government and incompetent risk taking bankers.
Forgetting it was those same pensioners who rebuilt this country, educated its citizens, developed its infrastructure and the technology we now enjoy, mined the coal to run the factories, trained the doctors and nurses and developed pioneering surgery such as the first heart transplant and subsequent IVF treatments.
Our ageing society is spoken of in terms of the problems and costs of supporting
the increasing number of older people. However, recent research carried out for the
charity WRVS reveals people of 65 and older are net contributors to the economy.
Taking into account older people’s tax payments, spending power, caring responsibilities and volunteering, people aged 65 and over contribute £40 bn more to the economy than they receive in state pensions, welfare & health services. By 2030 older people’s net contribution is projected to increase to some £75 bn. Economic analysts SQW made the calculations which estimate older people benefited the economy by £1785.9bn, by contributing social care worth £34 bn and volunteering worth at least £10 bn, compared to their welfare costs of £136.3bn.
When the Minister for Pensions speaks about pensions he only refers to future pensioners despite having once said “Current pensioners will always be my first priority”. Now he says the country ‘can’t afford’ us!
At 45, when Mr Webb was recently delivering some fascinating research on our attitude to age and that people of 59 are ‘still young’ to the Chatham House think tank, maybe he should have asked some 59 year olds who have spent their lives working and caring for the elderly or disabled if they still felt young (at 45 we all did). Maybe they would do if they had the benefit of his £80k plus salary with a gold pension to look forward to.
We will now have the highest retirement age in Europe and in the future the worst health in elderly people because of the fact they are now going to have to work till they almost drop and the few years left to ‘enjoy’ retirement will be marred by this along with the fact they will have worked more years but actually be no better off financially and become as a recent report has shown more costly to the NHS therefore no savings long term will have been made.
The television shows repeatedly are bias not only towards representation from pensioners but particularly pension issues (BBC Question Time being a prime example). Age discrimination is something that the licence fee payer seems unable to address as it operates a biased closed shop with no accountability.
Question Time seems able to present a political forum for many current subjects but despite being lobbied for more than two years by various pension groups (including ours) yet, no specific pension issues have ever been discussed. The programme has had minority and controversial people from political parties and recently hosted its programme from inside Wormwood Scrubs prison with prisoners allowed to participate in the programme. Next time we see Mr Webb promoting the virtues of the new proposed reforms of the pension system, are we likely to see an open and frank discussion from within this programme on the topic?
Law and Order – When we read of Kelsey Adderton, a nurse, who advocates in detail the killing of pensioners by doctors or their family if they wet themselves in a 72 hour period or cannot cut their toe nails, we really have sunk to a new low. This nurse from Ellesmere Port, Cheshire although under investigation by the Nurse and Midwifery Council is not under investigation by the police.
Although she said euthanasia should be brought in and loosely based on Harold Shipman no one seems to be interested in any elderly patients she may have had contact with and who may subsequently have lost their lives.
I personally contacted the police in this area and was told this person was not actively being investigated but if I now took this article and replaced the word ‘candidate’ (her word for the elderly) with Muslim how long do you think it would be before I was under arrest?
It was once said that “the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
Our manifesto reflects this on behalf of all pensioners no matter what their circumstances.
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