The NPC’s federal structure promotes the principle of delegatory democracy, so that the widest possible number of pensioners can have their views represented and discussed. Major policy issues are dealt with at the Biennial Delegate Conference open to all recognised national affiliates and regional NPC groups.
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DECENT STATE PENSIONS
The basic state pension should be set at 70% of the living wage (outside London rate) and above the official poverty level. This is currently £267.05 a week in 2022. This should be paid to all men and women, regardless of their National Insurance contributions.
Every year the state pension (basic and second such as State Earnings Related Pension Scheme SERPS) should rise in line with the best of earnings, the Consumer Price Index, the Retail Price Index or 2.5%.
NATIONAL CARE SERVICE
A National Care Service covering both home and residential/nursing care should be created, funded like the NHS through general taxation, free at the point of use and without means-testing.
UNIVERSAL PENSIONER ENTITLEMENTS
All existing pensioner entitlements, such as the winter fuel allowance, concessionary bus pass and free prescriptions should be maintained on a universal basis. The free TV licence for the over 75s should be reinstated.
Older carers who are already in receipt of their state pension should also be entitled to receive the carer’s allowance if they meet the appropriate criteria.
The NHS should be all inclusive, free at the point of use and include dental, eye and elderly care services. The internal market and privatisation shall be ended, and there should be greater democratic control of services by both users and those working in the NHS.
ENDING FUEL POVERTY
The national scandal of annual winter deaths among older people must be tackled as a matter of urgency by government. This will require a programme to insulate homes, building more suitable properties for older people, raising the winter fuel allowance to £500 per household and tackling the excessive profits of the big six energy companies.
The NPC is concerned that older and disabled people are not disadvantaged when travelling on public transport. Proposed changes to remove staff from stations or guards from trains can have a seriously detrimental effect on older travellers and it is vital that their needs are taken into account before simply cutting back on services.
SOCIAL AND DIGITAL INCLUSION
Government, other statutory bodies and business have a responsibility to ensure that access to information, services and discounts are supplied to older people in whatever form is most suited to their needs.
Age discrimination and the negative portrayal of older people in the media should be challenged at every opportunity.
The housing market in Britain is broken and there is an urgent need for a large house building programme of good quality, suitable and affordable accommodation for all the generations.
UNITING THE GENERATIONS
In recent years, there have been numerous claims that Britain’s older generation has escaped austerity at the expense of the young. This view is both inaccurate and divisive. Today’s battles on behalf of pensioners will benefit future generations, and equally, pensioners must stand alongside today’s workers in defence of their jobs, pensions and the right to a decent period of retirement.
END FROZEN PENSIONS
For sometime the NPC has been supporting the International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP) in its campaign to ensure that all UK pensioners, wherever they live, receive an annual increase in their state pension. The ICBP website can be viewed at: http://pensionjustice.org/
ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE
We support the actions of Action on Climate Change who have brought climate change to the forefront of the political agenda. We have participated in their protest marches and have volunteered our experience to support them in their campaign
All forms of abuse against older people should be recognised in law and carry appropriate sentencing, in the same way that there is specific legal protection for children.
The NPC’s Dignity Code, which sets out the way in which older people in care should be treated, should be incorporated into statutory guidance and regulations for all health and care providers.