This blog was contributed by Hannah Pearce, Age UK’s joint Head of Public Affairs.
Every few years the government announces its intention to fundamentally reform the pension system once and for all to ensure it is fair and sustainable for current and future generations. Each of these attempts is made with good intentions and with the hope that the changes will last. However a few years down the line the next government decides it’s time to try again. I’m already working on my fourth pension bill since beginning work for Age UK.
Successive governments are compelled to grapple with the pensions system to catch up with societal changes such as increases in life expectancy, changes in working patterns and to counter structural unfairness. For example several of the state pension reforms in the 2007 Pensions Act sought to ensure that the pension system better reflected the lives of women who often have some time out of employment caring for children, older family members, or working part time.
The compelling reasons for reform under the current proposals were to create a system which is intended to be fairer, simpler and more sustainable. Under the single tier system individuals will receive a state pension based on their own contribution record of up to £146 in today’s money if they have a full record of 35 years contributions. Continue reading
Posted in Government, Money Matters
Tagged Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, Government, Hannah Pearce Age UK, money and benefits, money matters, older people, pension changes, pensioner poverty, pensions, Pensions Bill, Pensions Bill 2nd Reading, Pensions Bill Second Reading, retirement, Single-tier pension, state pension, State pension reform
Sue Cooley from Manchester City Council, who won the Age UK Councillor Award in 2012
Do you know who your councillor is? Councillors are elected by all of us and can have a big impact on our community, but do we appreciate and acknowledge what they do?
Councillors really can have a huge impact on our communities. They are key players when coordinating people from the public, private, and voluntary sectors and they can provide a voice for those who would otherwise go unheard.
In recognition of this important role, Age UK is working with the Local Government and Information Unit (LGiU) to sponsor the Age UK Councillor Award as part of the 2013 C’llr Achievement Awards.
The Age UK award will be given to a councillor who has made a significant contribution to improving services or neighbourhoods in the area they represent, so as to benefit older people. It could be campaigning for better lighting, arranging more seating or increasing the number of public toilets.
Posted in Communities and inclusion, Local government
Tagged @CllrAwards, Age UK, Age UK blog, Age UK Councillor Award, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, C’llr Achievement Awards, Communities & inclusion, Councillor Achievement Awards, Councillors, LGiU, LGiU and CCLA C’llr Achievement Awards 2014, Local government, neighbourhoods, older people
The fuel poverty strategy of 2001 (‘to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016′) has patently failed. A new one is promised in the current Energy Bill, which is completing its Parliamentary stages.
Within six months of the date of the Act receiving Royal Assent (in December or January), the Government is bound to propose a new strategy, after which there will be a public consultation, a Government response, and the tabling of the necessary secondary legislation. This ponderous process means we might not have a new strategy in place till early 2015 (though ministers hope to move faster), but clearly the thinking time has already started.
Age UK, with others, is in constant conversation with the Department of Energy & Climate Change. A key bone of contention is the targets to be set in the strategy, since these will only be real if there is funding to underpin them, and there is considerable uncertainty about the available funds. Continue reading
Posted in Energy, Energy Bill Revolution, Government, Spread the Warmth campaign
Tagged #EnergyBillRev, #energybills, #spreadthewarmth, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, campaigning, Department of Energy and Climate, energy, Energy Bill Revolution campaign, Energy Bill Revolution coalition, energy bills, energy efficiency, excess winter deaths, fuel poverty, fuel poverty strategy, Government, insulating homes, older people, poorly insulated homes, spread the warmth, Spread the Warmth campaign, winter deaths
This morning the Office for National Statistics announced that there were 31,100 excess winter deaths last winter.
To say this is a national shame (as we have done) is both a cliché and also absolutely true.
Excess winter deaths – or the additional deaths during the winter months when compared to the rest of the year – are entirely preventable.
We know this because other countries with much harsher winters – such as the Scandinavian countries – have significantly fewer excess winter deaths.
Yet in the UK the numbers remain stubbornly high. Today’s figures show a 29% rise on the previous year and represent a four year high.
We all know that last winter was cold and long, but the figures are still unacceptable. That older people’s lives are still at the mercy of the weather in the twenty-first century is something we should rightly be ashamed of. Continue reading
Posted in Autumn Statement, Energy Bill Revolution, Government, Spread the Warmth campaign
Tagged #EnergyBillRev, #energybills, #spreadthewarmth, #warmhomes, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, campaign for warm homes, cold weather, Energy Bill Revolution, Energy Bill Revolution campaign, energy efficiency, excess winter deaths, home energy efficiency, older people, older people cold weather, spread the warmth, Spread the Warmth campaign, warm homes campaign, winter, winter deaths