Author Archives: admin

Amber Rudd should not have betrayed older women over their pensions

Positive Ageing in London (PAiL) and Wise Age are both supporting the campaign by WASPI to force the government to respect their rights and rescind the forced rise in the pension age for women from 60 to 66 by 2020. This precipitous move effectively has forced many women without due notice to either live off benefits or be forced to carry on working for an extra 6 years.

Chris Walsh Chair of PAiL and Chief Executive of Wise Age said

‘It is a disgrace that Amber Rudd, the then DWP minister has rejected the demands by WASPI for natural justice and has effectively forced women to live in comparative poverty or carry on working beyond their anticipated retirement age. This shows a complete lack of empathy for other women or an understanding of the situation millions of older women in the UK are facing – namely poverty.

This is part of a wider problem that older people are increasingly being picked on as the people responsible for the poverty of younger people, when the real culprits are the Government’s brutal pursuit of austerity and lack of commitment to helping increase the income of working and poorer people, focusing only on reducing taxes for the very richest.

The reality for over a million women pensioners is that they live below the poverty line and over 60% of all pensioners exist on an income below the tax threshold of £12,500.

Instead of blaming older people for the impoverishment of the young, blame the Government’s policies which have led to the wages of ordinary people still below 2008 levels while allowing the richest to increase their wealth by double or triple over the same period, mostly tax free.

Companies are still able to exploit the labour forces, trade unions are banned in many companies and the iniquitous use of zero hours contracts extends to even more people.

There should be a freeze on raising the pension age above 65 until there are a majority of people aged 64 in work, which is not currently the case. What in fact is happening is that yet again older people are being forced to either work longer and longer or live in poverty on benefits when they should be and have paid for a decent pension.

We seniors need to step up our demands for a decent minimum income for all – including pensioners and we fully support the actions that campaigning groups like WASPI and also the National Pensioners Convention are taking to fight the removal of free TV licences for all over 75s.’

Age Platform Europe Annual Meeting in Brussels

Please find photo of UK representatives at the Age Platform Europe Annual Meeting in Brussels.
Age Platform is the largest EU wide lobbying group for older people and Chris (on right of photo) is attending as both the WiseAge rep and also in his capacity as Chair of the UK members section.
For more information about the many projects, research programmes and campaigns click on the link  https://www.age-platform.eu/

PAiL and WiseAge oppose withdrawal of free TV licences

We are completely opposed to the government’s attempt to deny older people aged 75+ the right to free access to BBC services.

This is a government decision which breaks their own Manifesto commitment. They should not be allowed to pass the buck on this to the BBC who have their own cuts and needs to consider but should instead take responsibility to maintain the support given by the state to help older people access transport, heating and TV.

As many older people are increasingly socially isolated the TV is often their main company and entertainment and it is cruel to remove this. Also the majority of pensioners live on under £11,500 per year, with millions actually in poverty therefore the amount they will need to find to pay for their licence will be a significant drain on their very limited resources, unlike the situation of those in government and Parliament for whom such an amount is a drop in the ocean.

We are also very opposed to the attempts by government and sections of the media and politicians to try to create an artificial division between the old and the young. Attacking the rights of the old will not lead to increasing the rights and benefits of the young. What is required is intergenerational solidarity so that those at both ends of the age spectrum – particularly the majority who are facing insecurity in income, housing, health and community facilities – are supported through an end to austerity, an increase in local services and increased wages and benefits for all.

BBC TV licence over 75s

Post Office, ATM & Bank closures and their effect on Older People Briefing Paper January 2019

The way people are accessing their money is changing. Whilst the increased use of technology and cashless services has been beneficial for many, there are still millions of people who rely solely on notes and coins for monetary transactions.

Cash usage has dropped dramatically over the past decade, by roughly a half, with the introduction of cashless payment methods and the increased use and security of online shopping. Furthermore, the UK has lost almost two-thirds of its bank branch network in the past 30 years, leaving a fifth of households more than 1.8 miles from their nearest current account provider. There have been 2900 branches close in the last 3 years alone.

Post offices banks ATMs and Older People briefing paper January 2019

Resourcing Older People’s Employment Support (ROPES) project

There have been a spate of articles and comments around ageing in the Guardian this last week with older baby boomers starting to show an interest in promoting the positive benefits of ageing and the contribution that older people make. We hope that this can be used by all of us to promote the positive aspects of ageing, the many benefits that we older people bring, the advantages of having an appreciation of the ageing process, and the pleasures of collective discussion and action.

Wise Age is pleased to announce that we successfully completed our Resourcing Older People’s Employment Support (ROPES) project which was funded by Trust for London. We were able to help train up over 80 voluntary and community organisations towards a better understanding of both the barriers facing older working age people in employment, and how to help overcome them.

As a result, we have been able to research and build up a library of information and best practice both for older people looking for work, and for employers seeking to benefit from an age diverse workforce, and at the same time provide templates and information to agencies working to help older people back into employment and self- employment. This will be made available for all in the near future on our website. We are also hoping to publish, in the near future, two handbooks we have produced – An Employers Guide and a Guide for Unemployed Seniors.

PAiL Conference – Celebrating the Diversity of Older Londoners

PAiL is organising a further conference this year on 22nd February 2019 around the topic of Celebrating the Diversity of Older Londoners. We will have experts talking about the contribution of older women and men in London from different ethnic and cultural groups, from the LGBT+ communities, and by people with and without disabilities. We hope to promote our good work in such fields as employment, the economy, culture, caring and volunteering, as well as raise the ongoing issues of discrimination and exclusion. The conference will finish with group discussions, leading to agreed Recommendations for the Mayor to consider when implementing his progressive strategies for London.

This free event is being held at City Hall from 10 am on 22nd February as part of the
Mayor’s commitment to their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategies. Please register on the Eventbrite link below, and we ask that you pass on details to anyone else who may be interested in attending
https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/positive-ageing-in-london-conference-diversity-and-
older-people-tickets-52945254682?aff=eac2

A new strategy for equality, diversity and inclusion in London

On 10 May, the Mayor of London published a new strategy for equality, diversity and inclusion in London.

The publication of ‘Inclusive London’ follows a consultation and evidence-gathering process with London’s communities and key stakeholders – which included Positive Ageing in London. The strategy contains the Mayor’s strategic objectives to help address the inequalities, barriers and discrimination experienced by different groups of Londoners.

You can read it by clicking here.

A conference on life long learning

Join us for the next in our series of conferences and focus groups, on issues affecting older Londoners. This free, half-day conference will focus on life long learning.

Wed 23 May 2018, 10:30

336 Brixton Road, London, SW9 7AA

Click here to RSVP

Expert speakers will be talking about life long learning and older people, including experiences of the U3A, over 60s wishing to become post graduates, training and educational opportunities for both employed, unemployed and retired older people.

   Agenda

Time

 

 

Topic Speaker
10.30

 

Arrival and registration
11.00

 

Introduction and overview of older people and Life Long Learning Chris Walsh – Chair of PAiL and Age Platform (UK Branch)
11.15

 

Curiosity and later life challenges – the Ransacker experience

 

 

Hilary Farnworth – Ransackers

11.45

 

Later Life Health Awareness Workshops Eleanor van den Heuvel – Brunel University – Ageing Studies and Dementia
12.15 ‘Active Minds – still Learning’: why we’re setting up a campaign John Miles – Association of Education and Ageing
13.00

 

Lunch and networking
13.40 Life Long Learning – the changing perspective of older people and the differences in lifestyle choice Professor Alex Murdock, – Professor – Emeritus and

London South Bank University

 

14.10

 

Focus groups on key issues, concerns and recommendations relating to LLL and older people

 

14.50 Tea/Coffee Break
15.00

 

Facilitated discussion. Key points to be raised from the meeting towards the Mayor of London’s strategy on Skills and Education.
15.30

 

Finish

 

There will be refreshments and a light lunch (courtesy of our Big Lottery Awards for All grant).

A response from the Department for Exiting the EU

At last after a period of several months we have received a reply from the Brexit Department, confirming our report outlining older people’s concerns relating to Brexit has been passed onto officials from the Department for Exiting the EU.

The response highlighted that the Government is aware of the concerns regarding the concerns of older people in relation to the UK’s exit from the EU. It reassured us that Ministers from the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU) have undertaken more than 350 recorded DExEU-organised engagements with stakeholders from every sector of the UK economy since July 2016 and attended over 80 roundtable meetings on a wide range of topics, both independently and jointly with Ministers from other Government departments.

We hope that our report  is listened to, but if any of our members or supporters wishes to raise these issues further please download the recommendations and raise them with  your local candidates / political representatives  or at hustings.

For more details of our list of recommendations click here.