Sue Pitter, a member of South East Retired Members Committee, attended the NPC Pensioners’ Parliament last month in Blackpool.
The Pensioners Parliament this year took a different format, having been scheduled during the hastily called General Election, which perhaps deterred interested parties not booking when the election was in full swing. The Parliament still sold around 500 tickets, and those in attendance were keen, ready to network and to join in the Parliament.
A wide range of engaging and relevant speakers were able to attend the parliament and speak on issues facing pensioners. Dr Debora Price (Professor of Social Gerontology, University of Manchester) gave the conference an insight into generational divides in the 21st century, and around the issues of inequality that transcend age. Deborah also spoke of the diminishing of universal benefits, which will disproportionately disadavantage older generations.
Jim Tilley (Director of International Consortium of British Pensioners) spoke on pensions, and the potential effects of Brexit on pensioners living overseas.
There were a choice of sessions for delegates to attend, tackling some of the most pressing issues for Pensioners in the UK:
“Is the Housing Crisis caused by Older People?”
“Where next for State and Occupational Pensions?”
“Brexit: What does it mean for Old People?”
There were a range of other speakers, including UNISON’s head of Local Government, Heather Wakefield. She gave personal accounts, and spoke about the Social Crisis today, failing to deliver in a climate of chronically underfunded local government. Heather addressed the parliament with UNISON’s campaign to improve social care for all and urged delegates to vote for a government which supports social care.
As well as these vital discussions, the intrepid delegates braved the stormy weather conditions to march through Blackpool!