OAPs' event '˜will return next year'

The National Pensioners Convention has hit back at rumours that its annual Blackpool parliament is in peril.

Saturday, 30th June 2018, 7:06 am
Updated Wednesday, 4th July 2018, 6:14 pm
Pensioners Parliament march in Blackpool town centre
Pensioners Parliament march in Blackpool town centre

Senior citizens organisation Silver Voices claimed the future of the event, which takes place each year at the Winter Gardens, was in doubt ‘as the event has not been financially sustainable for the last few years and is a drain on the NPC’s depleted resources’.

However, an NPC spokesman said the parliament was safe for the forseeable future, and that this year’s event, which took place earlier 
this month, had seen an increase in the number of pensioners coming to the town to take part.

Neil Duncan-Jordan, of the NPC, said: “We get a grant from Blackpool Council and have done for years, and that has covered the costs for 20-plus years. We have a date for next year’s event that is already agreed. We have got dates for the year after as well.

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“We don’t think there is any suggestion that the council is going to backtrack on a 20-year relationship. It brings money into the area. We estimate at least £125,000 a year. We had between 550 and 600 people this year.

“The idea that it’s on its knees and people aren’t interested is ridiculous.”

He added that Silver Voices’ claims, in an email seen by The Gazette, should be taken with ‘a grain of salt’.

He said: “We are having a review of the content of the parliament. We are not having a review of whether it will take place.

“Our aims are as they have always been, to organise the pensioners voice in Britain and get people well-informed on the range of topics we discuss, and organise them to get out and campaign with their local councillors and MP. That hasn’t changed. What we are looking at is how we can to that better.”

Nobody at Blackpool Council could be reached for a comment yesterday.