SOLIHULL Pensioners Convention has blasted the latest rise in state pension and is demanding more support for elderly people.
On Monday, members gathered outside the Civic Suite and demanded a better deal for local pensioners. Following their demonstration, the group held a meeting with Cllr Bob Sleigh to find out how the local authority could bolster their campaign.
They were joined at the Homer Road building by other local councillors and Solihull MP Lorely Burt.
The convention hopes that Monday’s event will highlight the difficulties facing elderly people. This month, state pension rose by £4.55 a week for those with a full national insurance contribution record and just £2.70 for those who haven’t made a sufficient national insurance contribution.
Government ministers claim that the increase is the biggest in eight years. But according to Josie Herbert, chair of the Solihull Pensioners Convention, it will not be enough for those who are struggling to pay their bills.
“The basic state pension is a right not a benefit, but it is being treated as such. It has been paid for in taxes, national insurance contributions over 50 years but only amounts to 16 per cent of the average wage.”
Rising fuel bills and increases in council tax have hit pensioners hard - particularly during these difficult economic times.
Cllr Bob Sleigh, Solihull Council’s older people champion, said he would be supporting the campaign.
“It’s clear that there are problems facing some pensioners on a daily basis and we’re going to be looking at ways we can highlight them. Many people have been making arrangements for the future and because of the current economic situation these have fallen by the wayside.
“As the convention has said, this is an issue which affects everybody and I think that’s important to remember.”