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Suffolk Pensioners' Association

PUBLISHED: 10:00 07 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:22 06 July 2010

The Lowestoft Branch chairman, Chris Brooks reports that Britain's biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners' Convention (NPC), to which the Suffolk and Anglia Region Pensioners' Associations are affiliated, welcomes the Work and Pensions Select Committee's recent call to “eradicate pensioner poverty” given that there are still over two million pensioners living in poverty in this 21st century.

The Lowestoft Branch chairman, Chris Brooks reports that Britain's biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners' Convention (NPC), to which the Suffolk and Anglia Region Pensioners' Associations are affiliated, welcomes the Work and Pensions Select Committee's recent call to “eradicate pensioner poverty” given that there are still over two million pensioners living in poverty in this 21st century. We agree with the select committee that a strong basic state pension is an “essential building block” in people's retirement income. However, we respectfully point out that in these days of crisis and reduction in the private and occupational pension schemes the state pension is fast becoming the only reliable part of people's income which is why it needs to be strengthened further with means testing dropped, rather than expecting people on modest or low incomes to save more for their retirement. With this present crisis in providing privately for their future upon retirement, new cohorts of people in their forties, fifties and sixties should be encompassing and supporting the ideas of the NPC to restore the reliable basic state pension to at least the official poverty level (calculated at £158 in 2007-08 and £165 this year). This will bring it up proportionately to something like the level at which it was first introduced over a century ago - before which poor people had to rely on charity and poor relief for their existence. However, it would be a long overdue but fitting sign of respect by the government given on behalf of us all in this fifth richest nation of the world and accorded at last to the older generation who have served their country well in their time. Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “In a week when the European Commission ranks the UK as being fourth from bottom in the league table of pensioner poverty (out of 27 member states) you begin to wonder how low can we get? The select committee's 'solutions' for this are more of the same but we say a simple and logical solution to lift pensioners out of poverty would be to bring in a living state pension.” At the July meeting the state of pavements as tripping hazards was discussed. One very poor pavement is in Rectory Road by the new apartments that have replaced the old planning office. The pavement in Kirkley Cliff Road and the back entrance to the apartments have been seen to but the one in Rectory Road itself is still an absolute disgrace and urgently needs attending to. The Lowestoft Branch mystery minibus trip takes place next Friday, August 14, starting at 9.30am at the Stella Maris Hall, Gordon Road. All who have signed up for this are expected to attend unless they telephone the chairman by the day before on 01502 563208.

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