NPC Wales are to hold a demonstration to raise awareness of fuel poverty.
We will be meeting on Thursday 19th January 2023 commencing at 11:00 a.m. and finishing 12:00-12:30 p.m..The demonstration will be held outside the Office of the Secretar y of State for Wales, UK Government hub Tŷ William Morgan, Cardiff Central Square. The demonstration will be a Static and Peaceful demonstration.
The Theme will be Fuel Poverty • Say NO to Heat or Eat • Cold Houses Kill – Energy for All and Insulate our Houses.There will be campaign placards available and A5 leaflets to hand out to members of the public.
Contact Person : Dereck Roberts Chair of National Pensioners Convention Wales (NPC Wales).Contact by Phone or SMS: on 07951785754
Download our flyer below:
NPC Wales Respond to The Chancellor's Financial Statement
We welcome the success of the campaign to retain the triple lock but that needs to be seen in context in terms of State Pensions the UK remains bottom of the OECD table for pensions alongside the USA.
The full "new" state pension currently worth £185.15 a week will go up to £203.85 next April. But if you reached State Pension retirement age before April 2016 the State Pension is currently £141.85 a week, and will go up to £156.20.
NPC’s campaigns continue: The basic state pension should be set at 70% of the living wage (outside London rate) and above the official poverty level. This is currently £267.05 a week in 2022. This should be paid to all men and women, regardless of their National Insurance contributions.
Every year the state pension (basic and second such as State Earnings Related Pension Scheme SERPS) should rise in line with the best of earnings, the Consumer Price Index, the Retail Price Index or 2.5%.
All existing pensioner entitlements, such as the winter fuel allowance, concessionary bus pass and free prescriptions should be maintained on a universal basis. The free TV licence for the over 75s should be reinstated.
Older carers who are already in receipt of their state pension should also be entitled to receive the carer’s allowance if they meet the appropriate criteria.
END FROZEN PENSIONS
For sometime the NPC has been supporting the International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP) in its campaign to ensure that all UK pensioners, wherever they live, receive an annual increase in their state pension.
UNITING THE GENERATIONS
In recent years, there have been numerous claims that Britain’s older generation has escaped austerity at the expense of the young. This view is both inaccurate and divisive. Today’s battles on behalf of pensioners will benefit future generations, and equally, pensioners must stand alongside today’s workers in defence of their jobs, pensions and the right to a decent period of retirement.
All forms of abuse against older people should be recognised in law and carry appropriate sentencing, in the same way that there is specific legal protection for children.
NATIONAL CARE SERVICE
A National Care Service covering both home and residential/nursing care should be created, funded like the NHS through general taxation, free at the point of use and without means-testing.
ENDING FUEL POVERTY
The national scandal of annual winter deaths among older people must be tackled as a matter of urgency by government. This will require a programme to insulate homes, building more suitable properties for older people, raising the winter fuel allowance to £500 per household and tackling the excessive profits of the big six energy companies.
SOCIAL AND DIGITAL INCLUSION
Government, other statutory bodies and business have a responsibility to ensure that access to information, services and discounts are supplied to older people in whatever form is most suited to their needs.
Age discrimination and the negative portrayal of older people in the media should be challenged at every opportunity.
NPC Wales Respond to Two Welsh Government Consultations
We responded to the Welsh Government Draft action plan to end the abuse and neglect of older people in Wales. We agreed that the overall aims of the draft action plan were appropriate, and also drew their attention to the NPC Dignity Code.
NPC Wales also commented on the impact of the increase of loneliness and isolation as a result of the pandemic, and of ageism. We were pleased to see some positive approaches to meeting the care and support needs of older people at risk of abuse or neglect in this draft plan, such as the proposed role for Community Pharmacies, Digital Communities Wales, and Ageing Well Champions. However, we still feel that it is important that older people know who they can trust if they are at risk.
We also responded to the consultation on the national framework for social prescribing. We raised concerns about an over-reliance on online resources as a significant number of people do not have access to, or wish to use, digital tools.
NPC Wales recognises the importance of non-medical actions which lead to improved health outcomes i.e. the ability to exercise, socialise and contribute to the community – that latter being one of the most unrecognised roles that older people play.
NPC Wales agrees with the document that adults engaging in social prescribing reported an increase in confidence, which was mainly a result of a reduction in isolation. The intervention motivated participants to join social groups and build a social network of support. The evidence suggested that using a co-productive approach to social prescribing gave individuals a sense of control.
An NPC Wales priority is to see the recovery of the NHS and to see,eventually, Care delivered free at the point of need funded by taxation. NPC Wales understands the monumental task that recovery of the NHS & Care services in Wales poses but believes that to be the most important priority, for all the people of Wales, not just older people. That is going to need to include major investment in local assets available within the community.
It seems to NPC Wales that the best way forward is to continue the work that is being done by Health Boards and Local Authorities, learning from the experience of the Covid 19 pandemic, to work together more effectively as they are doing. They are the key services and, more importantly are local.
Energy for All: NPC Wales Statement of Support from the NPC Wales Committee
The increases in energy prices are already causing a huge crisis for millions of UK residents. People’s health and even lives are at risk, and increased debts and disconnections are inevitable. Now prices are to go up even further, to unprecedented heights.
The Westminster Government simply does not get how serious the situation facing people, both old and young, is. NPC Wales Committee sends it strong support, and we will consider affiliation at our November meeting. We were very glad to see pictures of he Fuel Poverty Action demonstration in London this week.
The measures proposed by the government to soften the blow barely scratch the surface of what is needed. Even proposals by charities and others to increase means-tested benefits and support for people in fuel poverty fall very far short, and, as the crisis widens, they do not reach enough people. In many cases proposals are also regressive – benefiting well off customers at the expense of the poorest.
We believe that the UK is a country with huge financial resources, and that no one should be forced to go cold, or go hungry in order to pay their energy bills.
We therefore ask the government to implement the proposal from Fuel Poverty Action (FPA), which is calling for “Energy for All”.
“Energy for All” would provide a basic level of energy for every household, enough for them to maintain enough heating, lighting, cooking, and other essential services. FPA say it should be funded from three sources:
• A windfall tax on the excess profits being made by energy companies on the back of the prices they are charging now.
• An end to fossil fuel subsidies, which cost the UK government millions of pounds every day, only to perpetuate our dependence on polluting fuels with volatile prices which are also destroying the climate
• Higher tariffs on energy used over the amount required for their different circumstances, to be paid by the many people who are profligate with their usage, contributing substantially to climate change, because they do not need to count the cost.
• At present, due to fixed “standing charges”, the people who pay most per kWh are those who have cut their energy use down to practically zero, while those who pay least are the ones who can afford to heat a mansion.
• Energy for All must be accompanied by a massive insulation programme, using an army of well-trained, well-paid retrofit workers, to further improve health, bring down bills, and cut emissions of CO2. At the same time, a switch to renewable energy is urgent. Further investment and subsidies for gas and oil only perpetuate dependence on fuels which are volatile in price and lethal in their effect on the climate.
In a significant development Labour and Plaid Cymru have reached a co-operation agreement.
The agreement includes some major policy decisions which affect older people.
In particular, from page 3 of The Co-Operation Agreement:
Future of Social Care – Set up an expert group to support our shared ambition to create a
National Care Service, free at the point of need, continuing as a public service. We will agree an implementation plan by the end of 2023. We will continue to better integrate health and care and work towards parity of recognition and reward for health and care workers.
NPC Wales welcomes this as it is something we have been calling for and we look forward to our continued participation in the process of developing the implementation plan.
NPC are supporting the Foxglove Lawyers Judicial Review Challenge to the proposed English NHS Data “grab”.
At the suggestion of the Older Peoples Commissioner for Wales, NPC Wales wrote to Welsh Government seeking to clarify the position in Wales.
NPC Wales welcomes the response from Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services.
A Ministerial Statement by Eluned Morgan MS, Minister for Health and Social Services was published on 8 June setting out the position in Wales.
There is no intention to ask GPs in Wales to transfer Welsh residents’ patient data to NHS Digital.
The statement also sets out how sensitive data is managed in Wales and was also welcomed by NPC Wales.
It is clear: Confidentiality of patient records and overall security of personal data will continue to be our priority.
NPC Wales looks forward to working with the newly elected Welsh Government and First Minister Mark Drakeford on behalf of older people in Wales.
Our priorities will include:
The Older People's Commissioner for Wales has shared a leaflet called Get Help, Stay Safe with NPC Wales. The leaflet is aimed at older people who may be experiencing abuse, and people who may be worried about someone they love. The leaflet provides assistance with recognising the signs of abuse, and signposts to specialist agencies. Read it in English here, and in Welsh here.
We have released our Spring 2021 newsletter, in which we outline what NPC Wales have been working on, and inform our members on issues such as the TV license and Post Office cards.
NPC have launched our new Manifesto, for the 2021 Senedd Elections. We set out what action we would like to see on many issues affecting older people in Wales, including the NHS and social care, recovery from Covid-19, fuel poverty, housing, and the environment, and digital inclusion. You can view it in English and in Welsh.
Cysylltiadau i Bawb / Connections For All
NPC Wales are launching a new campaign around digital inclusion and exclusion on 9th February, Safer Internet Day. The campaign will run for a whole year, and we are launching it with an exciting webinar organised alongside Age Cymru and Digital Communities Wales.
Take a look at our Campaigns page to find out more about the webinar, and read our first online resource.
January's Full Council Meeting
We were very pleased to welcome fifteen people to our first Full Council meeting of the year. We had interesting discussions about the new Wales Transport Strategy Consultation, our work around digital inclusion and exclusion, racism in healthcare, and other topics important to our members. If you'd like to attend our next meeting please contact us.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has been judged safe for use in UK
We have been greatly encouraged by this news, and we hope that we could see a return to near normal as soon as next spring. Thank you to all the teams that have been working on the vaccines. NPC Wales is aware that there are some concerns about the new vaccines, but we want to reassure our members and friends that any vaccine they receive will be safe and effective.
We have put together a short information sheet which seeks to reassure and inform our members and friends. You can download and read it here in Word format. Do share our leaflet with your family and friends. Please make sure you get vaccinated so that when we can all get back together again, no-one will be missing.
Vaughan Gething the Welsh Minister for Health & Social Services has issued a ministerial statement: Covid-19 New Testing Technology Developments
NPC Wales welcomes that statement and in particular: Provided these tests can be brought forward successfully, I have asked officials to work with the social care sector to consider ways in which tests could be deployed to advance the current pilots on mobile health and social care professionals who travel between people’s homes and support visits by family and friends in the care home sector.
NPC Wales has always recognised that until a vaccine is available hygiene measures and social distancing with Testing, Tracing & Isolation is the only way to help contain the spread of the virus. That is especially the case for older people.
Health policy is devolved, and there is robust public health system in Wales with significant expertise in contact tracing: The NHS Wales Test, Trace, and Protect Service, including Public Health Wales (PHW), local health boards and local authorities.
Welsh laboratories are now providing results with 91% of hospital tests done at Public Health Wales (PHW) labs returned within 24 hours.
NPC Wales welcomes the progress that has been made in developing effective testing, tracing and isolation.
NPC Wales will continue to meet with Welsh Government and the Older People’s Commissioner to ensure that older people’s voices are heard as we move out of the “circuit breaker”.
NPC Campaign Keep the TV Licence free for the over 75s
Sadly the BBC announced they will go ahead with their plans to make people over 75 who aren’t on Pension Credit pay for their TV licences from 1st August. The UK Government has refused to intervene.
Here, NPC Wales is concerned at the problem of TV licence scammers who are popping up all over the place.
NPC Wales supports the Age Cymru campaign warning about scammers and has advised its members groups accordingly.
In support of the NPC UK campaign we made some videos for the main NPC Wales Facebook page and quite a few “shorties” with members tearing up their “TV licences”. We also wrote to all 40 Members of Parliament for Wales and all 60 Members of the Welsh Parliament. The responses from MPs were limited with 4 responses in support. We know that the Labour Party, SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats and the Northern Ireland Parties support the campaign
There was very little support for Early Day Motion (EDM) 747 tabled on 20th July:
That this House supports the urgent reversal of the decision to make over-75s pay for TV licences during the covid-19 outbreak; notes with concern that licenses will have to be paid for from August 2020; believes that responsibility for funding free TV licences should not have been handed over by the Government to the BBC; highlights that loneliness amongst the over 75s has worsened as a result of the covid-19 outbreak; further highlights that stripping the over-75s of their free TV licenses will exacerbate loneliness; and calls on the Government to reconsider the issue as a matter of urgency.
The EDM required 6 sponsors - those there were three Labour, two Liberal Democrats and one Democratic Unionist. Only 10 other MPs signed up in support - four Labour, one SNP, three Plaid Cymru, one Green and one Northern Ireland Alliance. That compares with EDM 2049 on the same subject tabled in Feb 2019 by Jeremy Corbyn MP which attracted 140 signatures.
From Members of the Welsh Parliament, there was no response from the Welsh Conservatives, Welsh Lberal Democrats, the Welsh National Party, the Brexit Party or the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party. The UKIP MSP expressed support in a long email response which was mostly attacking the BBC.
The Plaid Cymru Group of MSPs and the Welsh Labour Group of MSPs confirmed their full support.
Welsh Government provided support via the Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism in a letter of support but pointing out that the BBC service is not devolved: "We continue to remind Ofcom of its obligation to hold the BBC to its Charter commitment to make provision for the UK’s nations, and we will continue to monitor developments within the broadcasting sector in Wales."
We welcome the news today that The BBC will meet with the National Pensioners Convention UK to better understand issues around a raft of concerns affecting the UK’s oldest and most vulnerable.
NPC UK will continue to brief the BBC on our views on the state pension, universal entitlements, the threshold for pension credit and diversity and inclusion.
The BBC has also agreed to discuss the impact of loneliness, isolation and increasing ageism with the NPC UK, the UK’s largest campaigning organisation run for and by older people.
The news follows an initial meeting between BBC Director General Tim Davie, BBC Director, Policy Clare Sumner, and NPC General Secretary Jan Shortt, who made a case for reinstatement of free TV licences for all over 75s, while outlining the financial hardships many currently face.
Jan Shortt commented, “The meeting with the BBC was robust on both sides – there are still approximately 1.4 million over 75s who have not paid their licence, because they are perhaps financially struggling to do so. However, we welcome the BBC’s willingness to continue a dialogue with us, particularly on the poverty, isolation and loneliness faced by so many older people.”
As of this week TV Licensing have started sending letters to anyone aged over 75 asking them to either pay for their TV licence or apply for a free one. The letter TV Licensing sends will include your licence number, your title and your last name and they will only ask you to pay using the following options:
- By post using the address TV Licensing, PO Box 578, Darlington DL98 1AN
- Online at tvl.co.uk/75pay or tvl.co.uk/75apply
- Over the phone on 0300 790 6151
If you are contacted and asked to pay for your TV licence using a different phone number, a different website or by posting your details to a different address, this is a scam.
TV Licensing will not come to your doorstep to collect the licence fee if you are over 75, so anyone who claims to do so is also a scammer.
If you’re unsure about anything, you can call TV Licensing on 0300 303 9695 to speak with someone who can help.
Covid 19 Survey
NPC Wales worked with Cymru Older Peoples Alliance (COPA), the Welsh Senate for Older People, Pensioners Forum Wales, Active Wales and Age Cymru to develop a survey to collect the experiences of people aged 50 or over during the lockdown.
Age Cymru has now released a report which analyses the response to the survey, and can be accessed here.
You can find more coverage, including a case study, on the BBC here.
NPC Wales has to express concern that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) examination of the costs of Funeral Care has been dragging on since May 2018. Now because of the Covid crisis the CMA has issued an inadequate provisional report with a deadline of 10th September for a response. We are working with NPC National to ensure that a coherent and robust response is made.
Public Transport 2020
For the elderly and most vulnerable groups in society, public transport is key to addressing loneliness and social exclusion. Yet funding for supported buses has been reduced in the last ten years, leaving many rural and some urban areas without public transport. Older people may be reluctant to use public transport in the current situation. Older people who no longer drive often rely on Taxis or Private Hire vehicles but again in the current situation may be nervous or unwilling to use that mode of transport.
National Pensioners Convention Wales is carrying out a survey to support its campaign for improved public transport in Wales.
NPC Wales believes that public transport is essential for older people to live independently in their communities.
The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete and your responses will be confidential. Please do share with your family and friends. Contact us if you need a paper copy of the survey. We'd love to have a wide range of responses, so get in touch if there is anything we could provide to make the survey more accessible to you.