NPC Eastern Region Meeting 17th April

On behalf of CWU Eastern N05 and their Retired Members, I attended the above meeting.

The Chairman ( Colin Canham ) opened the meeting and welcomed everyone, he also pointed out there were two reports being given at today’s meeting:

• Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on the 18th April 2018.

• Minutes of the Quarterly Meeting held on the 16th January 2019.

The Secretary ( Tony Garner ) gave a report on the AGM with no matters arising. Jan Shortt-NPC General Secretary attended as a special guest. Jan spoke about the recent events happening at NPC headquarters and various statements from politicians, and the move to a new Head Office due to the HS2 etc.

The Secretary then proceeded with the report of the previous quarterly meeting held on the 16th January 2019 with no matters arising.

At todays meeting the Secretary & Chairman submitted a copy of the NPC- Eastern Region Constitution with proposed revisions which were agreed, and that all members would receive a revised copy.

Jim Webb ( CWU S.E. Anglia ) was elected as an additional Vice Chairman.

There were two motions submitted & moved by the Chairman, which were both carried.

• Motion 1 Bi-annual Conference

That this Eastern Region Pensioners branch agrees to pay future delegates the extra nights accommodation before conference day enabling them to mix with other delegates for social discourse and allowing them to be in a relaxed state of mind for main conference day, also to be able to claim the standard discounted rail fare.

• Motion 2 Travel expenses claim for Quarterly meetings.

That this Eastern Region Pensioners branch agree to pay travel expenses to the committee members for quarterly meetings, i/e Secretary, Chair, Auditors etc, with a clause this will only be nesessary if delegates cannot get funding from their own branch.

Susan Boyd a delegate for Women Against State Pension Inequality ( WASPI ) spoke about their campaign. A report on ( WASPI ) is attached along with an update on over 75’s TV Licence.

Regards.

Dick Hewlett. ( CWU-NPC Delegate )

Women Against State Pension Inequality.

Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) is a voluntary UK-based organisation founded in 2015 that campaigns against the way in which the state pension age for men and women was equalised. They call for the millions of women affected by the change to receive compensation.

The 1995 Pensions Act increased the state pension age for women from 60 to 65 in order to equalise the age with men, with the change to be phased in over ten years from 2010 for women born between 1950 and 1955. This transition was later sped up by the 2011 Pensions Act. These changes came as a shock to many women who hadn’t been aware of them. Some women discovered they would have to wait up to six years longer for their state pension which often affected their retirement plans. In 2015, WASPI was formed by five women to argue for the government to provide transitional payments to women born in the 1950s receiving their pension after the age of 60. They also call for compensation to women who now receive a state pension but had to wait longer. Three of the original founders stepped down as leaders after a split in August 2016. A further three directors resigned in February 2018 following an emergency board meeting held the previous month where irreconcilable differences led to the resignations.

Actions.

WASPI’s online petition to parliament received over 100,000 signatures resulting in a parliamentary debate on the issue of the changes to the state pension age.

WASPI crowd funded £100,000 to pay for legal action in order to challenge these changes. The money was used to take legal advice and on 8 March 2017, the group wrote to the Department for Work and Pensions threatening legal action if the government did not help lessen the impact on the affected women. This move coincided with International Women’s Day and a march in London that many WASPI members attended.

The organisation also has a number of groups across the country who campaign locally, including by asking their constituency MPs to sign the WASPI pledge.

Response.

Since the launch of WASPI, the issue of the state pension age has become more prominent leading to its discussion in a number of parliamentary debates. The issue played an important part in the 2017 general election with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn raising it in a session of Prime Minister’s Questions and the SNP pledging to support the women. However, the Conservative government rejected the calls of the WASPI, arguing that they had to make the state pension more affordable for taxpayers. Furthermore, the WASPI campaign has been criticised by some commentators.

Over 75’s TV Licence.

The BBC are consulting on the future of the free TV Licence for over 75’s and now want to meet the NPC.

Hundreds of NPC members gathered in Westminster at the beginning of March to oppose the BBC’s plans to cut the TV licence for the over 75’s, and to demand that the government take back responsibility for funding the concession. The protest took place as the BBC considers the results of its recent consultation on the future of the concessionary scheme. Sources suggest that the broadcaster is unlikely to make any formal announcement before the summer, although two options appear to be gathering support: raising the age of eligibility to 80 and reducing the value of the concession. Campaigners say there are 1.6 million over-75s with a disability, many of whom have serious mobility issues and could lose their TV licence if the rules are changed. In the meantime, pressure is mounting to stop any cut, with the NPC’s campaign receiving support from MPs, trade unions and the Mirror newspaper. A petition with Age UK which aims to safeguard the concession, currently has over 80,000 signatories and you can add your support via: http:// ageuk.org.uk/TV petition.

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