Friday, 17 December 2010


Several years ago, this organisation voiced its concern over the Government's plans to dispense with the Pension Book and replace it with cards.

Now the consequences of this inconsiderate move which we feared would follow, have transpired.

Havering Forum for the Over 50's listened to our local representative of the Advocacy Service provided by Age UK (formerly Age Concern), tell us how difficult this move by the Government has made life for many of the elderly living alone and unable to get out. These folk depend on helpers and carers for errands and contact with the outside world and more importantly for someone to collect their pension for them.

The replacement of pension books by cards is totally unfair and distressing to many.

Old Age Pensioners, because of their age, find it difficult and in many cases impossible, to remember Pin Numbers and yet the finance companies vehemently advise against those numbers being passed on to other persons.

Once upon a time a Pensioner could sign a pension book and a relative or carer would visit the Post Office and collect the Pension. Admittedly this method is open to theft or fraud but most people over sixty would be happy to take the risk and be assured that they could receive their weekly or monthly payment.

At present there are no agencies who will co-operate and accept Agents with cards collecting money for pensioners.

So an elderly person, is stuck at home, needing money but with no means of collecting what is rightfully theirs.

We were told that a helper found the only way round this problem was for the Pensioner to make out a cheque for the required amount in favour of the helper who would present this to a Bank, pick up the money and take it back to the Pensioner.

Now this is just as risky but is the only way an old person can be helped out of their predicament.

Now it transpires that there is a move by the Banks to do away with cheques.

This move would not only be difficult for pensioners but for the general public. The alternative would be for items to be purchased on line with the use of credit cards.

How many pensioners are able to use computers? How many own one? How many use credit cards? The danger with credit cards is that one can lose one's identity. That is, a crook can access your banking details via a computer and empty your bank account by typing in your bank account numbers, etc. Placing your details on a computer leaves you open to theft.

So it is most unfair and dangerous to expect pensioners to trust helpers with cheques or to use on-line banking.

The weak, elderly and disabled are experiencing deep anxiety and frustration just in order to obtain what is rightfully theirs. It is the Government's responsibility to ensure a pensioner can access their pensions and benefits without fear or obstruction and doing away with Pension Books and forcing the elderly to resort to remembering pin Numbers, the use of cards and on-line banking is creating fear and obstruction in a most unprincipled way.

Monday, 18 October 2010


EDM Winter Fuel Allowance.

This is an Early Day Motion to protect our Fuel Allowance, so do please write to your MP and ask him to sign it. Although the Lib Dems promised they would not touch this, it is worth remembering that this Allowance and the Freedom Pass are now at risk since the Coalition appears to feel justified in breaking all promises made prior to the Election under the excuse that they have a massive deficit to deal with. If there had not been a "massive deficit", one wonders what their excuse would be. It looks as though the last Government unwittingly did them a favour!

If they do renege on these promises then one can only conclude that it is the hard-up, the elderly and the disabled who will be the victims or fall guys in this scenario - as ever. Does anything change? Its always the poor that pays isn't it!

Cutting benefits appears to be the first action to be taken to remedy a situation NOT OF THE PENSIONERS MAKING NOR THAT OF THE DISABLED AND NEEDY.

There is currently a petition to try and save the Royal Mail from privatisation. From press reports, it appears to be a done deal. Nevertheless you are asked to sign any petition protecting the Royal Mail, which comes your way.

Rallies, Petitions, EDMs are the only weapons we have to shout our cause unless we get lucky and the National Press jump in. So please come, sign and/or march. In today's political climate we need you and all the support you can give.

Pensioners Conference - 6th November 2010

Now more than ever we must make our anxieties known and shared with the Trades Unions. This is the annual event held at Somers Town Community Centre when we can speak, offer advice to those Union members not yet pensioners and urge them to use their powers to protect the elderly and disabled.

We have a number of speakers and hope to have our old friends from the Unions speak to us.

Our future is not so certain now we have a Government determined to make drastic cuts and so this is a good time to remind you all that the PENSION must NEVER be referred to as a benefit. It is a right and an entitlement which cannot be treated by tinkering and reducing, or worse, means testing. As such right, it can never be lumped together with other benefits making it vulnerable to the callous cuts now contemplated for other benefits.

Benefits may be subject to these cuts but the Pension should be immune to any tricks the Government wishes to perform with it. Make sure you correct anyone who refers to our Pension as a benefit. IT IS NOT.

NPC Rally - 27th October 2010

27th October. This is the date for the NPC Rally and Lobby. MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

The programme is:
  • 12 noon Protest at Old Palace Yard which is opposite the House of Commons.
  • 1 p.m. rally at Methodist Central Hall
  • 2 p.m. Lobby of MP's so write to your MP or MPs and see them to tell them about our problems.
Especially how the threatened cuts will affect Pensioners, in particular the Fuel Allowance and any encroachment in the future to the Freedom Pass.


Wednesday, 16 June 2010


The most disturbing event which happened during the General Election was the fact that many people were denied their opportunity of recording their vote because the stations closed before those queueing were allowed access.

This has been quietly forgotten but should not be, indeed it is a most serious blunder made by civil servants and Council employees that many, many folk were unable to gain entrance to their local polling station before those stations closed in accordance with the prescribed closing time.

It would appear that the position borders on illegality. If members of this Country have presented themselves for the purpose of voting, then the station closes at the prescribed time before they can vote, something is seriously wrong. This cannot go unchallenged and the Government should now take steps to ensure that such an unjust sitation is never repeated.

Whether or not, people were inside the Station or still lining up outside is immaterial. The duty of the presiding polling authority is to ensure that all those wishing and eligible to vote were able to do so. It was patently not the fault of the voters concerned. They were there, they were able and they were willing to vote and by the way it makes a nonsense of the idea that those not voting should be fined or penalised. If that were the case then there would be several prosecutions awaiting judgement now.

John Cryer lost his seat for Hornchurch at the previous election by just 480 votes. Which party he supported is again, irrelevant. The glaring fact is that those 480 votes could have been those lost by closure of polling stations at the allotted time despite there being several hundred people lining up to gain entrance to a polling booth.

How many marginals may have had a different outcome? The question is not fantastic nor unrealistic and it seems fair comment to claim that true results cannot be construed as such if voters were denied the facility of recording their wishes. In these circumstances a true reflection of the electorate's wishes is just not possible.

It seems a reasonable request that those so denied should be offered a retrospective proxy vote in lieu of that lost by the authorities' mismanagement. It was NOT the fault of those waiting outside and certainly not the fault of those actually in the polling station that they couldn't vote. It is very important that this lapse be addressed and should never happen again. In other countries people are being killed in a struggle to obtain democracy by a free vote and our own history remembers the fight of the suffragettes to get votes for women so to lose this hardwon right over the inefficiency and bad planning by those in charge is not only contemptuously scandalous, it is unlawful. Being able to vote is a fundamental right.
Joan Grant


With the recent elections revealing how uncertain the electorate has been as to who should govern this country of ours, the usual statements about people using their votes come to the fore.

There is a strong feeling that everyone should use their vote, particularly when one considers that there was a time when the ordinary man did not have that privilege and that women too were denied the opportunity of choosing who should rule them until very recently.

Many suggest that those people not bothering to vote should be summonsed or pressured in some other way to use their ballot paper. Given the the circumstances mentioned above, this attitude is understandable but such a draconian measure appears to smack of an attack on the individual's right to remain outside politics for one reason or another.

It would seem a much more fairer idea for the voter to be given a chance to show that he feels there is no-one for whom he could offer his support. To this end perhaps the ballot paper could have a box at the bottom of the list of candidates'names for abstention. This would demonstrate the fact that if there had been a candidate worthy of a vote the abstainer would have elected him or her but that since the voter can see no-one worthy of consideration he displays this fact by abstaining. For instance if the candidates were Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot, quite clearly a conscientious elector would not favour any one of these. In this case, his cross in the abstention box would show his willingness to attend the polling station and vote but that there was no-one he considered fit to take a representative position in this country.

To summons someone for disinterest or being in a genuine dilemma is not the answer and would involve expensive and useless prosecution but allowing a voter to declare his wish to abstain allows the voter a declaration and carries a clear message to all candidates.

Monday, 8 February 2010


On March 12th at St. Pancras Church Hall, Lancing Street opposite Euston Station off Eversholt Street, The Greater London Pensioner Association will be holding a public meeting.



Come and join in the Public meeting to debate the issues concerning today's Pensioners


The meeeting commences promptly at 1 p.m. until 3.30
Tea Coffee and biscuites available.

Come along so you know your voice will make a difference, not only to London Pensioners but to Pensioners all over the UK.

Guest Speakers are: Dot Gibson Secretary, National Pensioners Convention and John Lister - Health Emergency

Now is the chance to let those in power and prospective candidates know our grievances, anxieties and expectations. We have been treated shabbily. After ll years of Labour neglect and 18 of Tory disregard, we can at last tell these people what we think, want, look forward to and expect.