Posted: February 12th, 2014
“Hands Off!” is the message being sent by thousands of pensioners to politicians of all parties – hands off our benefits, our winter fuel payment, our bus passes…
AMP members can join the campaign to protect universal benefits by signing an online petition and e-mailing their local MP via this website: http://www.handsoff.org.uk/e-petition
In just over a month, signatures have reached 25,000 – but 100,000 are needed before the petition closes in May (2014) to force a debate in Parliament.
Politicians from all the main parties have suggested that the winter fuel allowance, free bus pass, TV licences for the over-75s and prescriptions for older people should either be means-tested or withdrawn altogether after the 2015 election.
The “Hands Off’ campaign, which is backed by the most influential older people’s organisations in the UK, aims to safeguard these benefits and emphasise their importance in achieving a decent standard of living for millions of pensioners. The organisers say it is an unfair myth that pensioners have not been touched by austerity measures.
Dot Gibson, secretary of the National Pensioners’ Convention – to which the AMP is affiliated – said: “The real reason why pensioners need additional benefits such as the winter fuel allowance and the free bus pass is because our State pension is so inadequate. Universal benefits help to keep people active, independent, warm in their homes, and healthy and involved in their communities. Universal benefits need to be defended not only for today’s pensioners, but for the pensioners of tomorrow as well.”
People of all ages – family, friends and local contacts – can sign the petition to influence Parliament and whoever is in power after 2015.
Report and picture from FRANK THORNE
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