Pensioner poverty – a national scandal
In 1997 Labour said it would eradicate child poverty. It set some targets and has failed to make significant progress on this matter.
But what is more galling, in this New Labour world, is the way that older people are treated, neglected and ignored by the Government. At least children have rights to education, and other services … what rights to older people have in this country? (unless they have been prudent – yes, that former Brownian word – enough to save for ‘a rainy day’).
As Help the Aged remind us, ageism and age discrimination is still prevalent in this country – for example, on the NHS, if you are “too old”, you can be refused treatment, and granted a death sentence (even though Capital Punishment was abolished); that is, if they don’t do you in with morphine first. Social care is being cut back by many councils as a result of the Brownian mess that is the public finances. The Help the Aged video is sadly true:
But what is a national scandal is the increase in pensioner poverty, a direct result of this Government’s policies. Barbara Willis-Brown, writing in the Stirrer, highlights how:
Here in Birmingham, we have too many pensioners living in isolation; struggling to survive on a limited income, with prices rocketing around them.
Their cars have gone, so transport and mobility are key issues; many live in fear, locking themselves away as soon as daylight fades; they cannot afford to socialise (cost, transports, perception, fear); rising costs of social care & diminishing services add pressures to the already hard-pressed.
At a time in life when they need the most help, they find there is precious little available.
Traditionally, there has long been a history of voluntary sector community support, organising trips, outings, hospital visits, befrienders etc.
Yet, due to withdrawal of funding, (Olympics 2012 springs to mind) local support groups have been hammered, as projects simply close down. So, the biggest losers continue to be the elderly – who are also the least able to cope.
As a matter of utmost urgency the government must consider the impact of all these rises on the older population.
The choice between eating and heating the home has been highlighted by Channel 4’s Dispatches already and this holocaust on older people was discussed on this blog. The Government’s inaction on the matter of pension poverty is not only immoral, but also politically inept. Since the highest turnout at General Elections is amongst over 60s, older people will have their revenge on this despicable Government.
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