Wednesday, 12 November 2008


There is much distress being suffered by Pensioners throughout the country and this distress is not limited to Pensioners only; Mothers with benefits, the unemployed and Health Benefits are very much affected by the closure of Local and Main Post offices. Many old folk are having to travel miles to collect their pensions or arrange transport by car particularly where public transport does not operate at all as in most rural communities.

This is a callous disregard of the needs of the elderly and flies in the face of all government protestations of its concern that Pensioners should not suffer. They ARE suffering.

The Pension payout system has worked successfully for years but like so many other aspects and services of the Post Office has been re-jigged to suit the motives and agenda of Westminster.

Paying your TV licence or other bills is now being done through PAY POINTS. What is not generally known is that PAYPOINT is actually a private company- American. This is just another example of privatization being secretly ushered in. It seems quite clear that the Post Office is being deprived of its ability to serve the public on many fronts and this will of course, eventually result in this Institution's complete failure. The cry will be that it is no longer viable. If it is not a viable concern, then this is only because there has been a systematic run-down of its ability to function, and this run-down has been initiated, it seems, by the Government.

(Picture of anti-closure campaigner in the Potteries area)


Remember that the GLPA Newsletter is the GLPA'S main publication. So if you see anything here and would like to read more details, related articles and comments can always be found in our Newsletter which comes out once a month price 70p. Any articles, letters, comments and suggestions you have will be welcomed at the GLPA Office at Interchange Studios, Hamptsead Town Hall Centre, 213 Haverstock Hill, NW3 4QP when our editoral committee will happily consider them for publication. We need you and your views! If you wish to contact us via e-mail the address is:- Telephone number : 0207 209 3984

Monday, 3 November 2008


Remember a pension is a RIGHT and not a benefit. It is earned and paid for by Pensioners themselves and is an entitlement - it must never be regarded as a benefit. Some agencies are beginning to use the term 'benefit' erroneously and this should never be allowed. A Pension is a right, not a benefit.

UPDATE: !!!!
This week's "You and Yours" on BBC 4 illustrated how important it is to maintain that the Pension is a Right as opposed to a Benefit. One listener described how when applying for carers allowance, his Pension was taken into consideraton -unfavourably for him- as a benefit, so his total benefits erroneously included his pension as being a benefit when in fact it is not. A Pension should NOT be taken into consideration when assessing allowances. This is a right, it is inalienable and its inclusion in any calculations for assessment is totally wrong.

We at the GLPA hereby call upon Help the Aged, Age Concern, The National Pensioners Convention and The Greater London Forum for the Elderly to strenuously resist the Government classifying a Pension as a benefit when assessing the granting of allowances for carers. We also ask that all Pensioners reading this update write to their MP's objecting to this unjust classification. Pensions must be regarded as income other than benefits. Only by the exclusion of a pension as a benefit can a fair assessment be made.

Sunday, 2 November 2008


In this month of November, we shall have the usual Remembrance Ceremonies, remembering those who lost their lives or just as importantly, their health.

Now there are probably a lot of Pensioners who are pacifists at heart, indeed probably conscientious objectors. One cannot quarrel with a sincerely held view that to fight is morally wrong. Equally, it is as well to remember that those who have gone to fight have done so because they sincerely believe that that is the best way to protect their fellow countrymen and the country itself.

There are of course, many reasons why a young man (or, nowadays, woman) joins up. Often, because the prospects offer a career or skill which in civilian life may be expensive or difficult to come by so a career in one of the forces seems a good solution. One GLPA member (now sadly passed away) always said that the first overcoat he possessed was that issued by the Navy! One must acknowledge that a regular soldier or any other serviceman who joined up, is or was at least looking for an honest paying occupation. I know that in the 20's this was the reason why two of my uncles joined the navy. It offered a regular wage and good training.

So when any serviceman suffers horrific injuries, the country should recognize that a real sacrifice has been made and should show its gratitude in a decent honourable manner. We should not turn our backs on these young men, no matter what motives or career advancement or ideals (mistaken or otherwise) they had but went forward with courage and an expectation of a severely disciplined life. The majority of these do, what all of us do, their best.

So what happens to them when the worst happens? How are they looked after? I quote from a National Newspaper on the treatment of a young soldier. I will forego the hype of "hero" or "Victim" but merely repeat the information provided in the report.

"....was hit by two rocket propelled grenades a fortnight after turning 18. The blast cost the soldier.....the use of his left leg, wrecked his right hand and caused horrendous internal damage.

He caught MRSA twice and C. DIFF at a UK hospital and has to walk with a stick. However....he had been told he was not disabled enough to receive council tax disability benefit."

Does this surprise you? Perhaps it is wrong to use his plight as an illustration of how this State treats its vulnerable and needy for is his treatment not typical of the treatment meted out to many servicemen and worse, to the servicemen of the previous two World Wars?

Parades are alright and it is fitting that we should set aside a day and ceremonies for those men and women who gave their lives and good health for us, but it is not enough. If someone got badly hurt protecting me, I'd not be able to rest if I didn't do something to help that person afterwards.

The Ghurkas have been treated shamefully, and so have the Japanese Prisoners of War. Likewise, the miners and Merchant Navy victims were left to manage their problems on their own.

So we Pensioners should not really be surprised that our pensions are now worth less than they were in 1908.

England expects! Well so far as the horrifically wounded and maimed are concerned, we expected and we got, so we should go all out to see that these brave men are never ever neglected just as honest pensioners should never be neglected. Lets remember it is the money which the pensioners and others of this country had taken in taxes which provided the arms and slush funds, and this same money should cushion the pensioners against poverty and provide assistance for the wounded ex-servicemen and women. If we don't honour our debts properly, there may never be a volunteer to ignore in the future. We should always remember to say thanks.


Saturday, 1 November 2008


  1. People needing care should make sure of their situation if employing a female carer. That is, paying for the services of a woman; for if your carer should happily (for her) fall pregnant, we understand that the employer could become liable for payment of maternity benefit. While we have no certain information (at present) on this point, we do feel that vulnerable pensioners should check the position before arranging for paid care. Find out and be (a)ware!
  2. When applying for benefit of any kind, whether it be for maternity, disabled, attendance allowance or Council Tax or Housing benefit, it is worth noting that information stored in a computer can be subject to hacking or downloading by unscrupulous employees. Once this information is placed on a computer it is very hard to have it removed and/or deleted. So be aware that all your personal, private and financial details will have to be entered and are targets for downloading by fraudsters and other lawbreakers, and this applies particularly where identity fraud could be a potential hazard. Generally speaking your information is secure but the unexpected can happen so think carefully before disclosing your personal information to corporate bodies. Be(a)ware!

  3. UPDATE!!!THE PENSION STATUS OF A SINGLE LADY MARRYING - UPDATE!!!!! On checking with the Department for Work and Pensions, apparently a lady does not lose her single pension when marrying. The single pension is fixed and cannot be altered. However, if on marriage her pension does not amount to 60% of the joint income then she may be entitled to an increase so please ladies, check this out for yourselves to be quite sure of your rights. Indeed, it is worth a further check on your position if you then become a divorcee or widow. What do you gain? What do you lose? Be aware!

We have further learned that if when retirement arrives you are given the option of having your pension paid monthly or weekly, it is better to opt for a monthly payment because if you opt for a weekly payment and retire say on a Tuesday, then you lose that week's money until the Monday comes round when weekly pensions are paid. Several people have lost money this way. However when you pass away, if you die in the middle of the week then you benefit from the previous Monday. Again, check this out in case we have misunderstood the information the Department has passed on to us.



Hospital beds are currently being cut back at an alarming rate, comparable to the Thatcher onslaught in the 80s.

Over 7% of emergency and acute short stay beds have disappeared in the last 2 years, and long stay specialist beds, particularly needed by the elderly, which have been in short supply for many years, have had further cuts amounting to over 20% loss in four years.

The cuts have not been evenly made and some areas have fared worse than others; London has been particularly targeted and has lost 11% of acute beds and 37% of long term and elderly care beds in the last six years. Mental Health and maternity beds have also had severe cuts.

As pensioners, the disabled and poorer families struggle to pay their heating and fuel bills, the likelihood of hospital admissions due to cold related illnesses this winter increases, but the Government seems to have its fingers crossed for a very mild winter (with snow in October?)!!!

The streamlining of hospitals and services is all part of the unspoken intention to make the NHS attractive to the private sector, hospitals are now run like a private business with talk of accumulating surpluses! This does not provide a more accessible service in spite of the platitudes of managers and politicians. The private sector cherry picks the easier conditions and treatments of the less complicated surgery, but chronic illness, major surgery and emergencies plus all the complications will still be left to the NHS. The Private Treatment Centres already operating to much applause because of the lack of waiting are undercutting the NHS and taking money and staff from the NHS. The Private Finance Initiative built hospitals and services which present the private sector with rich pickings for many years with very little risk, is destabilising the monetary control of the NHS hospitals, some of which will be downgraded, some will close, others will be handed over for the privateers to manage. Scrutiny of what is going on apace all over London and the South is difficult,- no elected representatives,no community health councils.

The Primary Care Trusts are not amenable to community pressure, the members being more afraid of the loss of their own positions and salaries if they do not toe the line as set down by Ministers; however, persistent pressure and campaigners can and does have an effect in some cases, and there is also a body unpublicised and little known called the OVERSIGHT & SCRUTINY COMMITTEE" who should be approached by campaigning groups who are trying to save hospitals and services and are underwhelmed and suspicious of alterations in community provision.


Tuesday, 28 October 2008


Many of you will have come to and supported our Rally. Many of us feel that we could have been treated a lot better by the police and authorities.

The march was banned and the Green in Parliament Square was barricaded off effectively keeping pensioners from meeting and speaking publicly.

However, we had some good speakers inside the Methodist Central Hall and inside Westminster Hall met several MP's who did at least have the good grace to come and meet us. So our thanks for all of you for coming along on a cold but bright day and rallying to our flag. We will keep you posted as to our next action.


The next picket is Thursday 19th February at ll a.m. until 12 noon. Come along and remind those in Parliament we are still around and waiting for some fair treatment.

If the weather is bad stay home and keep warm.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

The Banking Crisis and Us

So far as we pensioners are concerned not many of us have much in the way of funds to make us apprehensive of what will happen to them.

However, what has been shown is that Private, Occupational and Pensions other than the State Pension, are very vulnerable to fluctuations in the market economy and the economies worldwide.

We have seen Pensioners not only robbed of their expections but those expectations diminish as private pension funds are raided, reduced or abandoned altogether, as is happening with many final salary schemes.

So these tragedies for many pensioners underline how important it is for us to campaign for a strong guaranteed and satisfactory STATE pension, one underwritten by all Governments of whatever colour. Many feel that to pursue private pensions undermines the call for a decent state pension. However, many people, particularly widows and single women find themselves almost seduced by the offer of a private pension to supplement that offered by the State. If the State Pension was a sensible amount (payable equally to both sexes) and not, as is the case today, a derisory one, nobody would feel the need for a private or occupational pension. Whilst seeming to offer some form of security, they are in fact unpredictable and unreliable when markets crash. So let us all call and agitate for a decent income in our old age, one we deserve, have worked for and in all honour should have. The ghurkas had to fight for their pensions and the right to stay here. Like us, they should never have had to.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Centenary play

A word drama outlining the events leading to the grant of a National Pension has been created by members of the GLPA and will be presented to various groups and affiliates on request. Interested? Let us know.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

UTILITIES - A comfort or a headache?

With the coming of winter, most of us will be dreading turning the heating on when we most need it. At a time when the utility companies are posting record profits, isn't it time that instead of relying on Government, they developed a social conscience? What do you think, come and discuss with us at our meetings.

Boris, we note your efforts...

Before Boris Johnson was elected Mayor of London, he told us that the Freedom Pass would be maintained. We now understand that not only is Boris maintaining the pass but in accordance with his pre-election promise he is aiming to extend it to 24 hours.

With ever increasing pressures on our pensions, the Freedom Pass is entirely about our freedom to lead our lives actively so we welcome Boris's efforts and await to see whether he is successful in his endeavours.


The elderly are too easily forgotton by the MPs so part of our campaign strategy to gain respect is to remind MPs on a regular basis that we are still ALIVE and deserving of their attention. Accordingly, we regularly picket the Houses of Parliament (fair weather permitting).

See our second post.