National Pensioners Convention London Region Newsletter

1 NPC National Pensioners Convention GREATER LONDON REGION Chairman: William (Bill) Dale, 0208 597 2944 Vice Chair: Terry Murphy, 131 Watling Street, Bexleyheath DA6 7QL. 01322 527 097 Sec: Barry Todman, 15 Longlands Avenue, Coulsdon, Surrey. CR5 2QY 020 8668 2840 Ass Sec Alan Taylor 020 7928 5375 Treasurer: Brian Lee c/o NPC Walkden House, 10 Melton Street, NW1 2EJ 020 8220 6109 Information Bulletin August 2017 To all affiliated groups and individual members. Please be aware that the NPC has been advised that they will have to leave their Walkden House office in September this year, as the building is subject to a compulsory purchase order due to the HS2 rail project. Unfortunately we are unable to advise where we will be moving to, as at the time of writing we simply do not know. Clearly we could all do without this distraction and instead concentrate on our campaigning activities, but I am sure you will understand that we have little control over the current situation. We will of course keep you advised as things progress, however due to the uncertainty it would be extremely helpful if any group or individual who haven’t yet affiliated to the London Region NPC for 2017, do so as soon as possible. The Regional Council meeting booked for the 28th September will go ahead in St Pancras Church Hall as usual, but depending where we move to (it could be temporary accommodation) we will have to review the location of all future meetings of both the executive committee as well as the Regional Council, but will as far as is practical stick with the existing EC dates for the remainder of 2017. We will be looking for new members for the London Region ‘100’ club in 2018, and also asking current members who pay by cheque to renew in December if indeed it is possible. Due to a number of former members passing away, we need to increase our numbers in 2018 so we can maintain a reasonable prize for the monthly winner. Full details are on page 4 and if you need any more information please contact Barry. If you are able to do so, please assist us in our fundraising, it is less than £1 a week and 50% of the income, goes as the monthly prize. The fall out from Grenville Tower disaster continues. Despite the appointment of a new leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, there will still be a lot of work required to gain the trust of the local community. It has recently emerged that K&C council raised more money from the sale of two council houses in the borough, than it spent on the new cladding on Grenfell Tower. The Royal Borough made £4.5 million from the houses, and it spent £3.5 million on the cladding. Snippets for information Michael Gove, the environment secretary suggested that maximum penalty of 6 months in Jail for animal cruelty, is too low. However still no law to protect Older People!! London pay demonstration & rally ATL, FBU, GMB, NUT, PCS, UCU, Unite Thursday 12 October assemble 5.30pm opposite Downing Street, march via Departments of Health, Treasury, Education, Home Office and then rally outside Parliament 2 The NPC Head Office is at ‘Walkden House’ 10 Melton Street NW1 2EJ 020 7383 0388 email web site The building is on the right as you exit Euston Station We are now based on the first floor and access to the NPC office, is via the intercom right hand buzzer. If visiting it may be worth phoning before setting off, to check London Region NPC EC date for 2017 EC meetings in 2017 would normally be held at Walkden House on the second Friday of each month. However we will have to find a new location when the NPC office moves in September. The next EC meeting is on Friday 11th August The next Regional Council is on Thursday 28th September and will be at the usual venue, St Pancras Church Hall. The Regional Council meetings are open to delegates from affiliated organisations, and Associate (individual) members are also welcome to attend as visitors. Yet another attack on (tomorrow’s) pensioners. How things have changed. Many of you may remember the days (50 years ago) when Harold Wilson was Prime Minister and stated that with the ‘white heat of new technology’ people would see the benefit and be able to retire early rather than have increasing unemployment. We now have the news that the government is planning to bring forward the state pension age (SPA) of 68 for those currently aged between 39 and 47, ie 7 years earlier than previously advised. One can only feel sorry for those individuals especially those who because of disability. would not be able carry on working up to SPA. They would only be allowed to access Pension Credit one year earlier than SPA. In earlier bulletins we have listed a few of the occupations where either the individual would not be able to carry on working until 68, for example a scaffolder, or there are other occupations where working up to 68 may put members of the public at risk. Imagine a surgeon with shaky hands or poor vision, or others may simply be too stressed out at that age eg teachers or nurses. The reality is that there is no ‘one cap fits all’ solution. It’s a system designed to confuse but the NPC July Briefing Paper is well worth a read and the penultimate paragraph sums it up: tomorrow’s pensioners will end up working longer, paying more and getting less state pension. Is there a link between rising crime and falling Police numbers? The reality is that between September 2010 and September 2016, police workforce numbers in England and Wales fell by 18,991. In September 2013 there were 2684 Metropolitan Police Community Support Officers, and in 2016 there were 1626. Clearly Douglas Hurd minister for policing doesn’t think there is a link. However David Wilson professor of criminology at Birmingham City University said that the reforms of stop and search, along with reductions in the number of police officers, means we are seeing the consequences in rising crime. 450.000 more crimes recorded by the police was partly driven by an 18% rise in violence against the person, gun crime was up 42% and knife crime rose 24%. 3 The assumption that life expectancy would increase year on year, may need rethinking. Sir Michael Marmot, who is director of the Institute of Health Equity at UCL, said that the growth in life expectancy was "pretty close to having ground to a halt". He said that was "historically highly unusual" given the rising life expectancy seen over the past 100 years." I am deeply concerned with the levelling off, I expected it to keep getting better." Is austerity to blame? He said it was hard to draw firm conclusions about the cause. But he said it was "entirely possible" austerity had played a role. He explained social factors such as education, employment and working conditions and poverty all affected life expectancy by influencing lifestyles. And as austerity was placing pressures on these, they may in turn be influencing life expectancy. He also highlighted what he said was "miserly" funding settlements for the NHS and social care, which meant the quality of life for older people would have deteriorated and could well affect their life expectancy. This was a particularly pressing issue given the numbers of people with dementia, although that increase in itself may also be playing a role in the levelling off. Average life expectancy in England is currently 83 for women and 79.4 for men. One of the places with the biggest gap in life expectancy - as has been widely reported following the Grenfell Tower fire - is Kensington and Chelsea in London. For those who are able to use them, please note these options are now available to you. It’s reported that there are 1,857 empty homes in K&C, with 696 vacant for more than 2 years!! Top tips for spotting an online scam (With thanks to ‘Which’) There are hundreds of different online scams – and scammers might approach you by email, instant message or via posts on Facebook or Twitter. However, there are some tell tale signs and tricks you can look out for, including:  the message is from a complete stranger  you are being offered something that is too good to be true  the email claims to be from a trusted organisation, but the sender’s email address doesn't match the organisation’s real website address  the message uses a general greeting like ‘dear customer’ instead of your actual name  there’s a sense of urgency, such as threatening to close your account if you don’t act immediately  there’s a link that may look similar to the proper address but is in fact slightly different and will take you to a fake website you’re asked for personal information, such as your username, password or account details. What to do if you're caught out by an online scam There are various things that you or your relative can do if you are caught out by an online scam, including reporting the incident to Action Fraud. You can report the scam online or by calling 0300 123 2040. 4 London Region 100 club If not a member why not join for 2017-18? Thank you to all those who continue to support this fundraising activity. Should you wish to pay via standing order ie £4 a month please contact Barry (details on the front page) and he will forward the form for you to complete, before returning it to him. For those paying by cheque, please make it payable to ‘LR NPC 100 Club’, and send it to Barry. Please publicise our ‘100 club’ fund raising activity within your Branch/group. Don’t forget that your Branch/group or two or more individuals could purchase a joint membership, as long as one person is listed as the ticket holder. The prize winner for the July draw with ticket No. 10, was held by Peter Smith So congratulations to him, and thanks Peter for the donation from your winnings We are looking for new members for ’17-18 so WHY NOT CONSIDER JOINING ? If you are not in it– You will not win it!! Free TV licence for over 75’s We all knew that this would be under threat once the government passed the £650 million pound cost to the BBC. It’s due to be phased in from 2018-19 and with the full cost falling on the BBC in 2020-21. Following the recent publication of the salaries of the on-screen and on-air presenters earning over £150,000 a year, (all 96 of them) and the unacceptable difference in the earnings of women compared to the men, something is going to have to change. No one knows how this will pan out, as some have suggested cutting the salaries of the higher earning males, whilst others argue that women should be brought up to the same salary. One thing that is fairly certain is that if the BBC end up with a higher salary bill, they will be looking even harder as to how they can make savings. No-one needs a crystal ball to see that the ‘free TV licence for over 75’s’ will again come under close scrutiny, and we must be prepared to defend against any such attack. There are no good reasons for changing the current structure, as for many older people who already suffer from loneliness and isolation, it could have serious implications for them. However we should not forget that it was the Conservative government that introduced the change by passing the responsibility on to the BBC, so they will have to at least share the blame. Did you know that a 74 year old can get a short term licence to cover them until they reach the age of 75, as after that they are free. When you apply please have available details of your date of birth, national insurance number, your address including post code, and your current TV licence number. (I am grateful to the Enfield over 50’s newsletter, for this snippet of information). Nb. Please be aware of a clever scam. Just eight days after my 74th birthday I received an email from TV Licensing. It advised me that I was entitled to a ‘TV Licensing refund of 74.50 GBP-Still Pending’. It also advised that I was eligible for this refund and to click on ‘Refund Me Now’ and fill in my account details and after 5-10 days the amount would be credited to my account. Then the cheeky b…….s said Note: for security reasons we will record your IP address, the date and time. Deliberate wrong inputs are criminally pursued. Besides not responding as I knew that just 8 days after my birthday I would not be reimbursed, for half a years TV fee. The other telling point is that they couldn’t spell Licencing, and I reported it to Action Fraud. You can report the scam online or by calling 0300 123 2040.