'Just when pensioners are most vulnerable – Triple Lock suspended'

NPC and the Fuel Poverty Action Group camp protesting at parliament and 10 Downing Street on November 26

NPC and the Fuel Poverty Action Group camp protesting at parliament and 10 Downing Street on November 26 - Credit: NPC

Hornsey Pensioners Action Group (hornseypag,org.uk) is affiliated to the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) and for decades we have campaigned for a decent state pension.

This was set up in 1908 for workers who had paid into the National Pension Fund; it was not a charity but earned income. Each year we lobbied our local MP. For instance, Ben Roston wrote to Barbara Roche in 2005 saying that the state pension needed to be increased.

2008 was its centenary year and a big demonstration was held in Parliament Square. Our placards said that the state pension was 25% of average wages in 2008 but had fallen to 17% of wages, and likely to dwindle further.

In response the government introduced the "Triple Lock" that would uprate the state pension each year by the greater of inflation, average male earnings and 2.5%. Even the Triple Lock would take decades to provide a pension that ensures a decent living standard. Without that the future is bleak for those retired and future pensioners; a minority of whom, especially women, have occupational pensions.

Hornsey Pensioners Action Group Janet Shapiro in disguise during the pension protest in 2008

Janet Shapiro in disguise during the pension protest in 2008 - Credit: HPAG

Shame! This month the government has suspended the Triple Lock for one year - just when pensioners are most vulnerable and facing increasing bills.

On Friday, November 26, the day when the Office of National Statistics announces the number of excess winter deaths, pensioners demonstrated outside No 10 Downing Street. Both the NPC and the Fuel Poverty Action Group campaign for older people to afford to live in warm homes. FPA has produced a Guide –Your Energy Bill of Rights (fuelpovertyaction.org.uk).

This winter pensioners face a dilemma – we need to keep warm but face higher fuel bills and global warming. Already we have told members about the Warm Homes Discount Scheme, but these problems will be discussed further in the new year. Well informed local groups will be contacted including Muswell Hill Sustainability Group info@mhsgroup.org, En10ergy  en10ergy.org.uk, and Haringey Climate Forum haringeyclimateforum.org

Hopefully they can advise on how to make our homes eco-friendly. Also, for the sake of our grandchildren we want to support national campaigns to ‘Save the Planet’.

Janet Shapiro is a member of Hornsey Pensioners Action Group

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