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Fighting the pensioners' corner

Deborah McGurran
Deborah McGurran
The Politics Show East

With increased fuel prices, rising council tax and income from savings plummeting, it is no wonder Age Concern is seeing more calls from pensioners unable to pay their utility bills or make ends meet after paying them.

Elderly lady

Video: Pensioner action

Ian Pettit
The main objective is to promote the welfare and interests of all pensioners, as a way of securing dignity, respect and financial security in retirement
Ian Pettit

The Bedford Association of Senior Citizens has been campaigning this week for local authorities to freeze their council tax for 2009 to 2010.

Its spokesperson, Ian Pettit, wants to improve the quality of life for older people.

These are the policies for pensioners he would like the see the government adopt.

The association can trace its life back to the early 90s.
There were various reasons to operate a local pensioner action group, one of which was the lack of communication from the local authority.

At the time, the London pensioners enjoyed free bus, train and underground travel and this motivated a growing pensioner movement to call upon the government to legislate for free bus travel for the UK pensioners and the disabled.

Today the campaigning voice of Britain's pensioner is the National Pensioners Convention (NPC).

It is the biggest pensioner organisation, representing over 800 local, regional and national pensioner groups with a total of 1.5 million members.

Protest sign
A sign of the times...

The main objective is to promote the welfare and interests of all pensioners, as a way of securing dignity, respect and financial security in retirement. With many achievements, there is the continued need to feed the decision makers.

We campaign on three major issues:

Replacing Council Tax with a fairer affordable system

This has been the subject of continuing debate.

In 2004, the government initiated the Lyons inquiry about local council taxation.

When the final report was presented to parliament in 2007, it was shelved.

Two men and a protest sign
Things may become a great deal worse if pensioners are not heard

Here in Bedfordshire, we are calling for the local authority councillors to freeze council tax for 2008 to 2010.

But our main thrust will be a call upon the politicians to introduce, for England, a fairer household council tax based on ability to pay.

Increase the basic state pension

There is a need for an urgent review of both the public and private sector pension provision for the future generation.

Any weakness in the service for older people can only be corrected if we all become responsible and bring to the attention of the policy makers.

Care for older people
Pensioners meeting
Pensioners are uniting with one voice

In Bedfordshire, we have a problem providing care for elderly people - whether it be in their own homes or in residential homes.

We have all got to pay attention to the needs of older people requiring care.

How is it going to be provided, where will the carers come from and how is it going to be paid for?

You can join the local NPC pensioner group to help with the many issues that improve the well being of pensioners.

A recent example has been the prevention of further local Post Office closures and the retention of the Post Office card account."

For more information about the Bedford Association of Senior Citizens, click here...

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