LONDON, EAST & SOUTH EAST TUC PENSIONERS MEETING HELD AT CONGRESS HOUSE IN LONDON ON THE 26TH OF MARCH 2019
The theme of the meeting was how the exit from the EU affect the UKs older citizens? And what are the challenges we face?
There were due to be 4 guest speakers to the forum, only Chris Walsh of Age Platform Europe (UK Section) and Professor Anand Menon, Director, The UK in a Changing Europe attended.
Chris Walsh opened his contribution and cited many difficulties pensioners could be facing once we leave the EU on whatever kind of deal we face.
Equality has been a big leader in Europe relating to workers’ rights, but would they remain after Brexit?, it has to be remembered unless there is a General Election, the Tories will still be in government until 2022. Currently there are 1.6 million over 65’s in work, with the possibility of more being forced to work well beyond the current retirement age of 67, and 68 if you are born after April 1978.
Chris, also mentioned there could be lower food quality (chlorinated chickens, hormone fed beef, U.S. pharmaceutical testing over a one year period rather than the 3 adopted by the E.U. Under free market trading, environmental protection could be harmed. Healso stated that there could be travel problems travelling to Europe, citing the loss of the E111 health card, higher travel insurance, temporary travel visa’s and paying for temporary driving permits after Brexit.
Anand Melon who has appeared on many political shows, BBC’s Question Time and Newsnightconcentrated on the political implications that have taken place since the referendum vote. He explored many of the debates stating that a No Deal Brexitwould be bad, that the economic affects with a no deal would not have immediate affects, but would be more of a slow puncture before withdrawal effects will berealized.
On the political front, he believed that there is no feel for another referendum. A General Election would only be as a result of a no confidence vote in the government being carried. However, if Scottish Independence were to be raised once again there could be a possibility of Labour seats lost, therefore loss of a potential future Labour government.
Professor Anand continued to make the case for the difficulties Brexit have bought to the country in the way it has been handled by the government and the threats to such things as research where we are world leaders in some fields and would be lost after Brexit.
Austerity has been a major factor in the political arena since the Tory’s came to power, and without a deal, statements made by the Chancellor that austerity will be coming to an end were perhaps based on the potential contribution savings being made by exiting the E.U.
Other things mentioned were defence, and the possibility of an E.U. defence force should we leave, and perhaps leaving us with a weakened NATO should this be the case.
This is a potted report on the meeting, and at the time of writing, Brexit and its final implications are still full of ‘supposing’ and ‘what ifs’ as we are still some way off the final solution to Brexit.
Retired Members Secretary