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Pensioners' Manifesto - The general election gives Briatin's 11 million pensioners a unique opportunity to influence the policies of the next government. All candidates are being asked to support the key proposals within the Pensioners' Manifesto - or face the possible consequences at the ballot box. The campaign to promote the Manifesto has already started - visit for more information.
Pensions - Every day pensions are in the news. The Pensions Commission, the Citizen's Pension and the Pension Credit are all hitting the headlines. The NPC continues to make the case for a basic state pension of 105 a week to be paid to all pensioners that is free from means-testing and linked to earnings. The Convention's Women's Working Party will also soon be publishing a new pamphlet on Women and Pensions.

UK pensions and Europe - It is widely acknowledged that the UK has one of the least generous state pensions in Europe. Details of pension provision across the EU is contained in a briefing paper which can be downloaded here in PDF format..

Pension Books - The government decided to scrap pension books without any consultation with pensioners. The Convention has been one of the few organisations to oppose the move and continues to argue for a system that allows older people to collect their pensions at the post office without any fear or anxiety. For more information see briefing paper number 29.
Council tax - Bills for 2005 will soon be issued. The Convention remains opposed to council tax because it is unrelated to the ability to pay and has failed to safeguard essential local services on which many pensioners rely.
Other campaign issues include long-term care, chiropody, free nationwide travel, cuts in adult education andmaking poverty history for older people in developing countries.

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Press Release


Home News

For immediate use:29 March 2005

Pensions Minister addresses first ever national conference for black and ethnic elders 31 March 2005

Pensions Minister, Malcolm Wicks, will today (March 31) address the first ever national conference for black and ethnic elders organised by the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) - Britain's biggest organisation for older people.

Over 100 retired delegates from the African, Asian, Caribbean, Chinese, Indian, Irish and Italian communities will look at how issues of pensions and income, health and care and equality and inclusion affect Britains older black and ethnic minority members.

Claude James, chair of the conference said: Rather than having people speaking on our behalf, this conference will show that we are quite capable of speaking for ourselves. The needs and concerns of black and ethnic elders are often overlooked by the policy makers, but we will use this event to highlight the poverty amongst Britains ethnic elders, their specific health needs and the double discrimination they face being both older and from a different community.

The event will also encourage all pensioners to get involved in the NPCs manifesto campaign to ask every candidate in the forthcoming general election to support higher state pensions, better health care and free travel for all older people.Ethnic elders have a lot to gain by getting involved and showing that all pensioners are united in their campaign for justice.

The event will take placefrom 11am-4pm on March 31 2005 at the Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church, 235 Shaftesbury Avenue, London and will include:

  • A question and answer session with Malcolm Wicks, Pensions Minister
  • Workshops to consider issues ranging from pensioner poverty and access to social care to active citizenship and discrimination
  • Discussion on the issues and concerns affecting elders


For more information contact Neil Duncan-Jordan on


  • 5.1% of over 65s are from the non-white ethnic population (Source: ONS May 2004)
  • The event also offers an excellent opportunity to assess the issues of concern to older black voters in the run-up to the general election

Attention: Forward Planning-Political- Social Affairs
-Personal Finance

Press Release

Embargoed: 0001hrs 21 March 2005

Pensioners launch general election campaign

Supporters of Britains biggest pensioner organisation the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) will this week issue a challenge to every candidate in the forthcoming general election to support the Pensioners Manifesto.

The document has taken six months to produce and has been the result of nationwide discussion by more than 1000 pensioner organisations. Now as part of the NPCs campaign to put older peoples concerns at the heart of the election, members are sending a survey to all candidates asking them for their support on six key policies contained within the manifesto. These include:

1. A basic state pension of 109.45 a week for all pensioners.

2. A restoration of the link between pensions and average earnings.

3. Free long-term care.

4. A nationwide free travel scheme.

5. Replacement of the council tax with a fairer system based on the ability to pay.

6. An end to age discrimination in the provision of all goods and services.

The responses from the candidates will then be publicised locally and nationally before election day to enable older voters to judge which candidates are backing the Pensioners Manifesto and deserve the support of the over 60s.

Joe Harris, NPC general secretary said: For the first time in electoral history, pensioners in every constituency are asking their candidates if they will support a Pensioners Manifesto. This is an ambitious and radical plan that will help put the concerns of older people right at the heart of the election campaign and candidates should think carefully how they respond, because it could affect their chances of getting to Westminster. This is real pensioner power which the parties will not be able to ignore.

Already in the last few weeks the three main political parties have started to wise-up to the fact that there are 11 million pensioners the vast majority of which will vote in the general election. Older people are twice as likely to turn out and vote as those aged 18-24 and research shows that many of them are prepared to switch their vote if they like what the parties are saying. This time pensioners could make a real difference as to who gets elected and the politicians will have to either back our manifesto or pack their bags.


  • For more information contact Neil Duncan-Jordan on .
  • Contacts are available in all regions of the UK for interview.
  • Additional information can also be found at
  • Every Wednesday during the campaign, starting on April 13, the NPC will publish details of candidates responses on a region by region basis.
Press Release
For immediate use: 16/03/05

Reaction to Budget 2005 from the National Pensioners Convention

Rodney Bickerstaffe, NPC president said:
"Whilst the Chancellorrecognised he had to offer something to Britain's 11m older voters in the run-up to the general election, many will still feel disappointed that he missed the opportunityto substantially raise the basic state pension, restore the link with earnings, end means-testing and do something to widen women's entitlement to pensions."
"The Chancellor's pledge to remove the charges for those who are in hospital for more than a year will certainly be welcomed by the 10,000 people that it affects."
"Free off-peak local bus travel will benefit 80% of pensioners in England who currently only qualify for half-pricefare andis a step towards a nationwide scheme that would allow pensioners to travel free from one end of the country to the other."
"The 200 council tax refund willbepopular with many older people, but will only last for a year and the government will have to do more to end the unfairness of a tax that has no relationship to an individual's income.

"What these announcements show is that constant campaigning and pressure from the National Pensioners Convention and its 1.5m members has forced the Chancellor to act on some issues. There is of course still time for the government to do more in their response to the Pension Commission report and the publication of their own manifesto - butpensioners will no doubtgive their reaction at the ballot box."
For more information contact Neil Duncan-Jordan on

Budget 2005 at a glance

  • Free off-peak local bus travel in England for all over 60s and the disabled from April 2006
    Note: Free travel will be restricted to within local authority boundaries. The Treasury claim this will cost 420m a year

  • One-off 200 council tax refund for 2005 for every pensioner household where at least one person is 65 or over
    Note: This 200 includes 50 already mentioned in the Pre-Budget Report in December which was due to be paid in 2005. 7.2m pensioners will qualify costing 970m, but 1.4m women pensioners under 65 will be excluded

  • Immediate end to the reduction of the state pension after a 52 week stay in hospital
    Note: This will benefit approximately 10,000 people

  • Basic state pension will rise on 11 April 2005 to 82.05 a week (single) and 131.21 (couple)

    Pension Credit will rise on 11 April 2005 to 109.45 a week (single) and 167.05 couple.

    Note: It is expected to reach 119 a week for an individual by April 2008

  • Winter Fuel Allowance (WFA) remains 200 for pensioner households with at least one person aged 60 or over and 300 for the over 80s
    Note: Treasury figures show the WFA will be reduced by 50 in 2006/07

  • Personal income tax allowances were raised as follows:
    65-74: Up 260 to 7090
    75 and over: Up 270 to 7220
    Married couples: 70-74 (born before 6/4/1935): Up 180 to 5905
    Married couples: 75 and over: Up 180 to 5975

Press Release
For immediate use: 14/03/05
Britain's biggest pensioner organisation warns Brown over Budget statement
The National Pensioners Convention (NPC)- on behalf ofits 1.5m members - has today issued a warning to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make a bold statement in Wednesday's Budget in favour of raising pensioners' incomes or face the possible consequences at the ballot box.
The NPC want Gordon Brown to:
1. Raise the basic state pension to 109.45 a week.
2. Restore the link between the state pension and average earnings.
3. Increase the 25p a week age addition at 80 to 25.
4. Acknowledge that the current pension system has unfairly penalised many women and provide them with a full state pension in their own right.
Joe Harris, NPC general secretary said: "Up till now, despite numerous announcements, ministers have failed to capture the attention of Britains 11 million older people. The pressure is now on the Chancellor to deliver a popular alternative to the Conservatives plans to halve council tax for pensioners and restore the link with earnings, and the Lib Dem proposals to make long-term care free and pay all over 75s a pension of 109 a week."
"Anything less than a serious attempt to raise the basic state pension for all is bound to have serious repercussions at the ballot box in a few weeks' time."
For more information contact Neil Duncan-Jordan on .


For immediate release:
Saturday March 12, 2005

Joint statement from Age Concern, Help the Aged and National Pensioners Convention ahead of Budget Day on Wednesday March 16

Gordon Lishman, Director-General, Age Concern

Mervyn Kohler, Head of Public Affairs, Help the Aged

Joe Harris, General Secretary, National Pensioners Convention

The Government cannot afford to ignore older people in Wednesdays Budget. Older voters are most likely to turn out and their votes have the power to determine the outcome of the General Election. With millions of older voters still undecided or prepared to switch their vote, no party can take their support for granted or try to win them over with token gestures.

There have been Budgets for jobs, Budgets for enterprise, Budgets for Britains hard-working families. A Budget for pensioners is long overdue. At the very least, the Chancellor must use this Budget to increase the basic state pension to 109 per week.1 Pensioners have been overlooked for long enough - leaving them empty-handed once again could prove very costly at the ballot box.


Notes to editors

1 This is the means-tested minimum income level for older people, set by the Government. It will be annually uprated on April 11, 2005, to 109.45 (from 105.45).

Age Concern/ ICM research (January 2005) shows that two-thirds of over 55s (66%) say they are absolutely certain to vote compared with less than two-fifths (39%) of under 55s. For further information, please contact the Age Concern press office on or out of hours on .

Help the Aged/MORI (February 2005) found that 75% of the over 75s were absolutely certain to vote, of whom 25% remain undecided about the candidates they will support.

Media Contact Neil Duncan-Jordan NPC


Media Contact: Helen Wanless or Mel Beardon, Age Concern England

Telephone: or
Press Release

For immediate use: 7/03/05

Wise-up on womens pensions

- New guide launched to help

working age women -

Britains biggest pensioner organisation the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) will this week launch a new guide to help young women understand how the UK pension system works, consider the pension options available to them and recommend policies that would make pensions fairer.

The guide entitled: Wise-up on womens pensions has been produced by the NPCs womens working party made up of retired older women from a range of backgrounds, who are concerned that todays younger generations do not experience the same prospects of poverty in retirement that they have had to face.

It is widely acknowledged that women are amongst the poorest pensioners in society, with one in four qualifying for means-tested benefits. In the main, this has been due to:

  • Fewer opportunities to work full-time and pay national insurance
  • The married womans option to pay reduced contributions
  • Lower pay when in work, reducing the possibilities of saving
  • Employment in occupations that do not offer occupational pension schemes
  • Broken work records due to domestic responsibilities; affecting poorer women the most
  • Divorce, separation or widowhood

Helen Grew, spokesperson for the NPC womens working party said: The failure of the state pension system has been to base entitlement on a traditional male work pattern of 44 years continuous employment, with little serious acknowledgement or safeguards for protecting the vast majority of women whose working life did not conform to this model.

On the other hand, the failure of the private occupational schemes has been to both restrict access for part-time, low paid, mainly women workers and more recently to move towards less generous, defined contribution schemes. However, even those fortunate enough to be members of a final salary scheme, tend to find that the rules favour men and do not take account of a womans broken work record.

This new guide aims to help women understand how the system works and give them the arguments to campaign for much needed changes.

The guides main recommendations for changes to UK pensions, include:

  • Raising the basic state pension immediately to 109 a week and increase it every year in line with average earnings
  • Abolishing the rule that prevents people with less than 10 years contributions from getting any state pension
  • Widening the existing Home Responsibilities Protection rules to include more carers
  • Reducing the National Insurance lower earnings limit to enable more low-paid and part-time workers to build up an entitlement to a basic state pension
  • Retaining the State Second Pension as an earnings related pension
  • Requiring employers to pay more into National Insurance


Notes for Editors

  • The guide will be officially launched at the TUC Womens Conference in Scarborough on March 10.

  • For further information contact Neil Duncan-Jordan on .
  • Copies of the guide are available price 1 (inc p&p) from NPC , London .

"We are carefully looking at proposals to guarantee pensioners a decent income in retirement, so that we can end means testing for pensioners once and for all and get rid of the evil of pensioner poverty" Tony Blair 1996

From a letter dated 4 September 1996 from the Officeof the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Blair.

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Groups are encouraged to inform the NPC office of any future events for inclusion in the MESSAGE Send details to

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This Convention declares that every pensioner has the right to choice, dignity, independence and security as an integral and valued member of society. These rights require an adequate state pension linked to average earnings, comprehensive free health care and concessionary travel on public transport

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From April 2005 the basic state pension will rise by 2.45 a week for a single pensioner and 3.95 a week for a couple. This will bring the figure to 82.05 for a single pensioner and 131.20 for a couple. However, if the link with earnings had not been broken in 1980 the basic state pension from April 2004 would have been 113.12 for a single pensioner and 180.90 for a couple.
That is whythe campaignto have the link with earnings restored becomes moreimportant every year that the gap between the state pension and the costs of living grows

Download the briefing paper
No 32:Facts & Figures 2004 - useful facts on pensions!!

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