Campaigners join pensions protest
By James HoreCAMPAIGNERS from across East Anglia have taken part in one of the biggest demonstrations held about the pensions crisis.About 10,000 people of all ages waved banners, blew whistles and banged drums in Saturday's protest march and rally in London, which called on the Government to tackle the growing pensions problem.
By James Hore
CAMPAIGNERS from across East Anglia have taken part in one of the biggest demonstrations held about the pensions crisis.
About 10,000 people of all ages waved banners, blew whistles and banged drums in Saturday's protest march and rally in London, which called on the Government to tackle the growing pensions problem.
The TUC organised the Pay Up For Pensions rally amid new warnings about the number of workers set to face poverty in retirement.
TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said it was sending the Government a "wake-up call", saying if ministers failed to act now, they would be storing up trouble.
"We have got something like two million of today's pensioners living below the poverty line. It's getting clearer that millions more are going to face poverty in retirement because ministers are walking away from promises they made," he added.
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"We are calling for a new fairer system where everybody plays their part to provide a decent pension for everyone else."
Rodney Bickerstaffe, president of the National Pensioners Convention, said it was important young and old people stood together to carve out a fair deal on pensions because the young people of today would be the pensioners of tomorrow.
"The only way to give security to old people in a rich advanced society like ours is to have a decent state pension as a right," he added.
Phyllis Webb, from Braintree, was among a 20-strong group of pensioners who made the coach journey from Essex to take part in the demonstration.
The 74-year-old, of Tabor Avenue, is chairman of the Braintree Pensioners' Action Group, which has campaigned for a fairer deal for the older generation.
She said: "We were told there were about 10,000 people gathered together. I am not surprised as you could not see the end of rally.
"It was quite a long walk, but we made it. What made the day special was the amount of young and old people who turned out, as on our own we have no chance of changing what is happening, but if we are all together, we can do this."
She felt the Government had to start taking notice of the pensioners or suffer the consequences at the ballot box.
"We have not got much money and we cannot afford luxuries like holidays. There is the risk of alienating pensioners," she warned.
"It is not just about money, it is also about care. There has to be better care in hospitals, in nursing homes and also in sheltered accommodation.
"We just think pensioners should be treated better than they are. Politicians need to remember that as when it comes to polling day, it is older people who are out in force."