THE executive committee, delegates and individual members of the Wessex Region of the National Pensioners Convention give heartfelt thanks to NHS staff, care workers and all keyworkers and volunteers who are looking after us in these troubled times.

The National Pensioners Convention, the largest voluntary organisation for pensioners run by pensioners, has for many years campaigned for a National Care Service run on the same lines as the NHS.

We know that some politicians, economists and think tanks will say the country cannot afford it.

What the country cannot afford is another pandemic where low paid care workers are expected to put their lives at risk, due to the lack of proper protection, to care for people in care homes and their own homes.

It is quite wrong that people in care homes who have to pay around £4,000 a month for their care are out of the blue given a supplementary bill of £6+ per day to pay for the protection equipment of the staff.

Many of those paying £4,000 are so called rich pensioners who have assets of more than £23,250 which includes the value of their home, they are not only paying for their own care but are also topping up the fees the local councils are paying for the people they put in the home.

These unaccountable economists and think tanks who complain – are they the same people who decided that people suffering from dementia only need social care and not NHS care?

The National Pensioners Convention’s Declaration of Intent agreed on June 14, 1979, still holds good today: “This convention declares that every pensioner has the right to choice, dignity, independence and security as an integral and valued member of society”.

This declaration has obviously got even greater significance today because of the coronavirus crisis and the failure of this government to adequately deal with the impact of the pandemic.

The 2016 Operation Cygnus warnings about what should happen if a pandemic occurred have been ignored by them and the consequences have been a devastating disaster coupled with the lack of proper funding for many years in the care sector.

“If we work together and all follow the rules we will get through this” is a favourite saying of the government.

We hope this rings true when the country has to find the money to pay back its debts. Modern technology is being used to quickly find a vaccine and also to keep track of people with signs of coronavirus and their contacts.

Unlike the last period of austerity where the rich got richer and the rest of us got poorer will modern technology be used to make sure everyone pays their fair share, tracking down international companies who use convenient tax homes to avoid paying, people who use bogus companies to shield their salaries and companies who make their workers subcontractors or self-employed to avoid paying National Insurance.

We will be campaigning to make sure that a proper strategy is put in place by this government to achieve the best possible result for everyone.


Secretary, NPC Wessex Region Montague Close, Southampton