I recently helped lead a meeting run by the Hornsey Pensioners Action Group to gather evidence about the sort of things that stop older people getting a good night’s kip.

It is impossible to overstate the importance of HPAG’s work and the dedication and effort that Janet Shapiro, Ann Anderson and colleagues put into organising this voice for pensioners.

Everyone (about two dozen of us) in the room was an “Elizabethan” - born just before or after the Second World War. For much of our lives we have had governments that accepted responsibility for full-employment, health, housing (Macmillan built 250,000 council houses the year I was born), health, transport, education.

Increasingly, much of this is now being delivered by the private sector.

Ham & High: David Winskill asked a Hornsey Pensioners Action Group meeting about their worriesDavid Winskill asked a Hornsey Pensioners Action Group meeting about their worries (Image: Archant)

We discussed everything, from hospital transport to dentists, global warming to online scams, lack of social justice to the disappearance of legal aid. Unsurprisingly, the cost of living and health shared the top spot of major concerns.

While some have occupational or personal pensions, the UK State pension is not, by European standards, at all generous. A recent House of Commons report said: “The UK devotes a smaller percentage of its GDP to state pensions and pensioner benefits than most other advanced economies."

On health, everyone acknowledged that getting older means extra health challenges. Our part of the deal is to eat well, exercise and quit smoking. But we need back up from GPs for early diagnosis and timely interventions. Many were worried at how long it now takes to access a doctor and growing NHS waiting lists.

Solutions discussed included a minimum guaranteed income scheme, proper funding for social care through taxation, a Freedom Pass for cabs to hospital, a social tariff for energy as well as a fundamental rethink about how we do politics and how government works.

Perhaps, as The National Pensioners’ Annual Convention has called for, it is time to appoint an Older Peoples’ Commissioner to look after and advocate for the rights of the over 65s.

After all, as my dad claimed, in an uncertain world the only things you can count on are old age and taxes.

Unless, of course, you are rich and Truss wants you to start trickling down.

David Winskill is a Crouch End-based campaigner.