On Wednesday 13th Oct I attended the Retired Members Conference ( Virtual)
The meeting started on a sombre note with a minutes silence to remember all who have sadley passed away during the Pandemic.
The main topics are as follows.
1. A New Settlement for Care Services
In May 2020 the national Pensioners Convention published a booklet " Goodbye Cinderella" A new Settlement for Care Services.
Among the reccomendatios were
1. A fully funded National Care Service.
2. A joined up service with no division between health and social care.
3.A new approach to training with care workers being requiredd to register
4. More frequent inspectons carried out by highly trained inspectors.
This motion will be taken to the National Delegates Conference 2022
2. The impact on older/elderly people of services going online
Unison should be at the forefront of No exclusion due to age. Training and correspondence should NOT always be online. Adapting to the digital age is an issue for many older people due to cost, inability or unwilling. This subject was also the subject of a further motion which advised that our older members must not be left behind by the move to paperless communication.
3. Pension Poverty
It was stated that 1 in 5 women pensioners are living in poverty with a higher proportion in black and asian communities. Many pension credits are not being claimed. "lack of publicity" It is a fact that the UK has the lowest state pension in Europe. This combined with the free TV licence being withdrawn,£159 and the removal of the triple lock makes life very difficult. The Liverpool area have adopted a policy of non payment for the TV licence!! The conclusion was that we need a " Commisioner for Older People."
4. Gender Pension Gap
There is currently a 15.5% pay gap and a 40.3% pension gap. It was requested that campaign to redress this issue should be formed.
5. Womens Penions- Underpayment
The government has admitted that there has been an underpayment with the average amount being £8400. It has stated that some would be paid automatically but that others would have to claim. This is not good eneough and an automatic payment should be made to all.
6. Ensuring That The Living Standards of Older People are Not the Price paid for the cost of the Pandemic
There have been many attacks on older peoples entitlements, including TV licences, the triple lock.
The House of Lords report reccomends,
Scrapping the triple lock
Aboloshing the free TV licence
Delaying the winter fuel allowance and bus pass untill 5 years after retirement age.
Regarding the Winter Fuel Allowance and Bus Pass as taxable income.
Conference therefore calls on the Naional Retired Members Committee to work with the National Exectutive Council and all appropriate bodies to defend retired members from attacks on their standard of living.
This motion will be taken to the National Delegates Conference 2022.
7. Disapointed if you fail doomed if you try.
Questioned the effectiveness of the National Retired Members Committee and NEC leadership!
8. Electric Scooters.
It was considered that Electric Scooters posed a threat to older people and that they should be licenced and insured.
This was just an overview and if any member has any queries please contact me through the Branch Office. That apart I hope you are all well and in the recovery stage from the pandemic..
Mick Barnshaw Retired Members Officer