Hundreds march for better pension

Pensioners march to their conference at Blackpool's Winter Gardens
Pensioners march to their conference at Blackpool's Winter Gardens
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PENSIONERS marched through Blackpool to highlight the hardships being suffered by the older generation.

More than 1,000 delegates are taking part in the annual three-day Pensioners Parliament at the Winter Gardens,

Pensions, fuel poverty and the future of the NHS are on the agenda.

The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) has been coming to Blackpool for 15 years and was launched yesterday with a procession through the town centre with marchers holding banners and placards aloft.

Among them was Alistair Mitchell, secretary of the Blackpool Trades Council, who said one of the priorities was to force Government to improve pensions.

He added: “Currently pensions are linked to the consumer price index, but we want them linked to the retail price index which represents the true cost of living.

“A loaf of bread costs 0.8 per cent of a person’s pension at the moment but that will increase to three per cent under the present system.

“People have worked hard to get a basic pension and they are taking it away with no financial reason to do so.”

Ellen Lebethe, 75, chairman of the Lambeth Pensioners Group, said: “The turnout today and the solidarity being shown is great.

“We need to be the voice of all those pensioners who would like to be here today but can’t be.

“We have worked hard all our lives to end up on a pension we can barely live on.”

Peter Last, 74, of the Walsall Pensioners Association said: “The Government can’t go on ignoring us because pensioners vote and David Cameron has to do something for us otherwise he will be out.”

Graham Wilson, representing retired members of the Communications Workers Union (CWU) in the North West, said social care and fuel poverty were among priorities which had to be tackled.

He added: “It will take a lot for the Government to listen to people like us which is why we have to keep strong in our campaigns.”

NPC President Frank Cooper, said: “We are delighted to return once more to Blackpool for what is set to be another highly charged event aimed at discussing a range of issues of high importance to the older members of society.”