General Election Series: A rallying call for a great place to grow older

Older campaignersThis week’s blog from our General Election Series focuses on Age UK’s General Election Rally, which was held on Tuesday 24 March 2015.

Yesterday, Age UK held a General Election Rally event to give older people the opportunity hear from representatives from the five main political parties about their policies to make the UK ‘a great place to grow older’.

Although the media coverage over the last 24 hours has focused predominantly on the audience’s heckling of the Prime Minister, our first speaker, there was much more to the day.

50 Questions, 5 speakers 

Over the course of the day, the older campaigners, who travelled from as far afield as Cumbria and Cornwall, and as close by as North London, asked over 50 questions of our five speakers: the Prime Minister, Rt Hon David Cameron MP (Conservatives), Paul Burstow MP (Liberal Democrats), Liz Kendall MP (Labour), Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and Mark Reckless MP (UKIP).

The discussions and debates that ensued were vivacious and passionate – the older campaigners were not shy about making the most of the opportunity to get their points across and they did so with style and vast political knowledge.

Dennis, 91, challenged the Prime Minister to introduce an Older People’s Minister to the Cabinet, and an array of other issues like the NHS, free bus passes and the level of the state pension were discussed and debated.

In addition the rally was also an opportunity to gather our valuable older campaigners together – both those who were in the hall, and those across the country who engaged on social media and with our campaign postcards – to talk to them, to celebrate them and to make sure their voices are heard.

Older people given a voice 

Delegates had the chance to meet other groups, share practical knowledge and experiences, and to socialise. One attendee, Maggy, said getting to interact with so many fellow campaigners was the most important aspect of the day.

Our delegates left feeling over the moon with the experience and enjoyed being involved from start to finish. Mary, who didn’t get back to her Norfolk home until almost midnight, emailed us as soon as she could – as she said: “All the folk I chatted to felt valued and given a voice. I was full of the day and talked endlessly on our journey home.”

Lastly, our thanks should go to those people who made the event the success it was- people like Mary, Dennis, and their 250 fellow older campaigners who headed to London, ate their fish and chips, and took action to make sure their voices were heard.

On 7 May 2015, we will all vote to choose our future MPs and the next UK Government. It’s vital that once elected our politicians act on the issues that affect older people, today and tomorrow. Ask your Prospective Parliamentary Candidates to become Age Champions


Author: Age UK

Age UK is dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life. In the UK we help more than 7 million older people each year by providing advice, combating loneliness and enabling independence. Locally, we work as part of a network of independent charities which includes Age UK, Age Cymru, Age NI and Age Scotland and over 150 local Age UK partners in England and Wales.

10 thoughts on “General Election Series: A rallying call for a great place to grow older”

  1. AgeUk, you speak for the older generation will you now speak for the women who have been discriminated against in the unfair rise in state pension age. Women born in 1953/4 and onward, who have been given no notice of this second increase. Women who have age related illnesses have been targeted but have to carry on working to be able to survive. Please speak for this generation, help these women to enjoy what is left of their lives in relative comfort.

    1. There are so many women who were not notified of the first increase. The media, politicians etc. are quick to refer to the State Pensions Act 1995 saying that people were informed – but the fact is that they were not. I received notification from the DWP in January 2011 (18 months before I was due to retire) informing me that I would not receive my state pension until 2017!!
      It is disgraceful the way we have been treated and consequently abandoned by Age UK, who at the very least could promote our campaign to make our voices heard.

  2. Why is the UK a great place to grow older? We are being forced to work longer, robbed of thousands. Would have loved to go on future rallies, but unfortunately it is not to be because I’ll be either at work or dead. I for one of the 55,330 would like to see the above petition posted on age uk.

  3. And on the same day as this took place there was a desperate call for help from a group of women who only want to be allowed to grow old with dignity and with the state pension that we have worked for all our lives. Women born in 1953/54/55 have been used to facilitate an unprecedented, unfair and inhumane leap in the state pension age to speed up the equalisation of the SPA with men’s age and then raise them both to 66. We already accepted a rise of up to 4 years gracefully but the extra 18 months added in 2011 has filled us with stress and worry, how are we going to manage physically until then? What will we do if we lose our jobs? What about those of us already unemployed at over 60 and subject to sanctions and the search for jobs that don’t exist for women of our age? What about those of us with aged parents to care for who with age related conditions ourselves struggle to get through each day of caring for ourselves and our parents while holding down a job at the same time? We’re the forgotten victims of this harsh, cruel Tory led government and yet Age UK, who supposedly work to help older people, entertain and admire David Cameron and tell us they cannot help us. Anne Keen’s petition shows how many women and their families are concerned about this, she had the courage to organise and present the petition on Tuesday 24th while Age UK entertained established pensioners and Cameron and told us we live in a great place to grow old – well it’s not so great for those of us stuck in the time warp of feeling weary and ready for retirement but not being allowed such a luxury.

  4. I agree with all of the above! . The women hit for a second time by the accelerated state pension age are devastated enough, but now we hear that the ‘ bright idea’ of having pensioners work for their pension is being mooted
    So, the state pension age goes up and up and up and those who actually survive to eventually draw their state pension are expected to work for it! What do we pay in contributions all our working lives for? We’ll get nothing back at all once the NHS has gone and it will if the Tories or UKIP get into power in May. Those who have worked from 15 years old in menial jobs are tired, they suffer from age related complaints. Women of that generation have no private pension, there was no equality of pay with men those days, that they have to work until they drop and then to be expected to work for their state pension too is just cruel. Let those in cushy jobs work longer if they want to, let those who feel up to volunteering do so, but let those in need of a bit of rest and prepared to cut their cloth to live on the state pension they paid in for, do so! Apprenticeships for the young and fit who want to work, YES ….. but not for older people who deserve a bit of life AFTER work! ‘
    Age UK you are supposed to be on the side of older people, yet you have let these women down very badly! WHY ??????

  5. listen to the voices on Anne Keen’s petition and the voices of all the 500000 plus women affected by this Tory led government’s fastforwarding of SPA…you know in your hearts it was wrong to do this without adequate notice…at first you fought against this…then you gave up…why….are you in the pay of David Cameron….you should have fought on…and made a legal challenge…but you didn’t…….why why why why

  6. I fully agree with Babzs comments above. The deal for women born, latter part of 1953 into 1954 is totally unfair and I cannot understand how the bill got through parliament. One also needs to take note that in the new bill everyone will need 35 years of NI stamps. Many women have worked 2or 3 part time jobs, but not paid the full stamp so a reduced pension for them. Such an unfair system.

  7. Well said Babz, totally agree with all that has been said. When will AgeUk finally get some backbone and help fight for the people they are supposed to represent. I also would like to know why I am so discriminated against just because I was born a woman in 1954.

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