The NPC Annual Convention heard calls for young and older people to work together to ensure that everyone can have a decent quality of life as they age.
Generations must fight together for older people
of today and tomorrow!
More than 300 delegates converged on The Imperial Hotel Blackpool for our first Convention since before the pandemic. They heard from leading speakers on all the issues affecting older people across the two day event. But the final panel session confirmed that uniting the generations in fighting for a better quality of retirement is vitally important.
With more than two million older people now living in poverty in the UK, the NPC has been campaigning for the generations to unite to ensure today’s and tomorrow’s older people have decent pensions and essential services.
And that’s a view echoed by three generations of one family who were shocked to learn how bleak life is for the older generation at this week’s NPC Annual Convention in Blackpool.
Nanas Against Fracking campaigner Tina Rothery, her daughter Stephanie, and 18-year-old granddaughter Amelia were stunned to hear the distressing testimonials of many older people and expert speakers at the NPC Annual Convention last week (28th-29th June) – pictured above.
Three generations tell of shock at ageism in UK
Tina, 61, an environmental campaigner from Blackpool, said: “The convention was really eye-opening and not necessarily in a good way. There are things that I hadn’t realised about what’s going to happen as I continue to age. My eye has been on the environment, and you can’t fight everything. But you realise that everything really emanates from a really poor system of government, and today really enraged me. Especially hearing about the problems in the care system.
She added: “During the panel discussions, my daughter and granddaughter were whispering in my ear, ‘Is this for real? Is this how bad it is?’ They have just realised that they are going to retire later and later, and what kind of poor quality of later life will they endure? Especially as life expectancy is so low here in Blackpool, many don’t even reach retirement age.”
Stephanie said, “It was terrifying, listening to what older people are going through; it’s scary. Discrimination – ageism – makes no sense because everybody ages. So why doesn’t everybody care about their future?"
Amelia, 18, added, “I probably won’t be able to retire until I’m 80. We are all going to get older, if we’re lucky, but it’s not looking good right now. You shouldn’t have to wait years, just working and working to get a pension, a sum of money that is not really going to give you any quality of life. We shouldn’t have to be young to live our lives, we should be able to live how we choose to, at every age.”
The Annual Convention – the NPC’s national conference – was held in Blackpool for the first time since before the pandemic, which took tens of thousands of older people’s lives. It was formally opened by the Deputy Mayor of Blackpool Councillor Adrian Hoyle and Deputy Mayoress Sharon Hoyle.
Delegates at the Imperial Hotel, representing the NPC’s million-plus members, heard experts discuss the many issues affecting older people, such as the huge crisis in health and social care, the rocketing cost of living and our inadequate and unequal state pension, as well as the decline in services such as transport and housing, and the drive towards a digital-only public and private sector.
Unite the Union held a demo at the Convention on their ’68 Is Too Late’ campaign, supported by the NPC and the Scottish Pensioners Forum, to demand that the government bin plans to push the retirement age back to 68 much earlier than expected.
NPC General Secretary, Jan Shortt said, “This was a very important Annual Convention given the many, many serious problems forcing older people today. But we were heartened to see so many people – especially younger people - encouraged after hearing our speakers, to campaign for serious change to our broken systems.
“I would like to thank Tina and all our speakers, plus the many delegates and supporters who made this Convention such a success. It has re-enforced the NPC’s commitment to galvanise the generations to unite for policy change on ageing.”
Convention speakers included Simon Francis from End Fuel Poverty, John Lister from Keep Our NHS Public, Lord Davies of Brixton on the state pension, and Tom Lowe from the Digital Poverty Alliance, plus leaders from national organisations including Age UK, Independent Age, Ageing Better, as well as the TUC, Unite and UNISON.
*Many thanks to all our guest speakers, and to Blackpool Council, Visit Blackpool, Deputy Mayor and Mayoress Hoyle, as well as The Imperial Hotel, and all our delegates.