YOUR REP ON THE TUC PENSIONS MEETING. If you have anything you need to know Tony will ask at the Next Meeting. Please Contact Mr Tony Lee.

To help address the problem and provide a valuable resource for members that have questions and concerns regarding their pension, the union has put together a portfolio of resources for members to utilise.



To help address the problem and provide a valuable resource for members that have questions and concerns regarding their pension, the union has put together a portfolio of resources for members to utilise.



The Age UK Group works to improve later life for everyone by providing life-enhancing services and vital support.

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London Retirement Show




 A quick guide to Costa Caleta, Fuerteventura, Canary Islands



Protecting the dignity of our older people

Ask The PM - State Pension  THE REPLY

BBC Pensions


Lloyd George & Pensions



Three million pensioners survive on less than £10,000 a year

Almost two-thirds of single pensioners are struggling to survive on pensions of less than £10,000 a year, official figures have disclosed.

The extent of pensioner poverty was revealed in figures published by the Office of National Statistics, which also showed that almost 45 per cent of pensioner couples received pensions of less than £15,000 a year during 2006/07.

Campaigners for the elderly said the figures, which revealed that three million pensioners received less than £10,000 in income from their state plus private pensions, were "a scar" on society.

Around 5.7 million elderly people receive less than £15,000 a year from state and private pensions.


1 in 3 of future pensioners face poverty in retirement 

Britain's biggest older people's organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC), has claimed that today's Scottish Widows' survey showing that 1 in 3 people cannot afford to save for their retirement, is further evidence that the government's pensions' policy is beginning to unravel. 

Joe Harris, NPC general secretary said: "Most financial experts agree that you need a pension pot of about £100,000 to provide an income in retirement of around £6000 a year, but millions of today's workers - even those in occupational pension schemes - will not get anywhere near that amount. The government's entire pensions' policy has relied on means-tested benefits and good company pensions to take people out of poverty in retirement - but this approach is now beginning to unravel. A third of pensioners will still be means-tested in 2050 and good company pension schemes are becoming a thing of the past." 

"The latest figures show that 1 in 4 pensioners already live below the poverty line of £151 a week - 62% of pensioner couples get by on £10,000 or less each year and it looks as if future generations will be even worse off than their parents and grandparents. Rising fuel, food and council tax bills are pushing people further into financial hardship, yet the government's answer to this looming pensions' crisis is to tell people to work longer, by raising the age of retirement to 68." 

"A strengthened national insurance based state pension set above the poverty level and linked to earnings offers the most effective way of giving everyone - both now and in the future - real financial security and dignity in retirement." 


Legal update
The Heyday challenge to the UK government's default retirement provisions reached the ECJ for oral hearing on 2 July. The next step will be for the Advocate General to publish his opinion and this will be followed by an ECJ decision, expected before the end of 2008. We have already seen divergence of view between the AG and the court on the related issues in Palacios, so it would be foolhardy to predict the ultimate decision here. The case will then return to the UK High Court, where a final decision may be anticipated in about a year. In the meantime, retirement cases will continue to be stayed in the UK tribunals, the Court of Appeal having ruled that the EAT was correct in Johns v Solent SD. The Tribunal Service has confirmed that over 250 cases have so far been held back.

Age discrimination issues in redundancy were explored by over 20 EFA members at a round table discussion held jointly with Beachcroft LLP on 1 July and a summary document will be available in due course. Coincidentally, it has been reported that the Stratford ET found that the dismissal of a worker as redundant only months before he would have been 50 and eligible for pension and a lump sum was an unfair dismissal and age discrimination. He is reportedly now claiming £1 million in compensation for loss of employment until his age of retirement at 65, loss of pension, and injury to feelings, and the amount of any award will be decided at a later hearing.

In the meantime, courtesy of Adam Turner at Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, we have three cases from north of the border which shed a little more light on some other aspects of the Age Regulations we've not yet seen tested. To find out more about compensation for improper notice of retirement, indirect discrimination in temporary promotions and the exemption for statutory authority go to this month's update:
Click here for more information.

Government loses pensions case at Court of Appeal
By Yvette Essen, Pensions Correspondent
Telegraph  09/02/2008

The Government has suffered a major blow with the Court of Appeal upholding a ruling that it mislead 125,000 people who lost their pensions when their companies collapsed.

Three Appeal Court judges unanimously agreed that the High Court correctly ruled that government leaflets had encouraged thousands of people to join and stay in company pension schemes. Last year, Mr Justice Bean upheld findings by the Parliamentary Ombudsman that the Government did not mention the risk that people would only get a fraction of their pension pay-outs if their schemes were voluntarily wound up or their company became insolvent.

A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions said it was considering seeking an appeal to the House of Lords in an attempt to get the judgement overturned.

The spokesman also said that last December the DWP had made a "significant settlement" by adding an extra £935m to its Financial Assistance Scheme, which provides compensation for around 140,000 who lost their pensions. The Government has contributed a total of £2.9bn to the FAS.

Dr Ros Altmann, who is campaigning on behalf of the four pensioners bringing the test case, described the Court of Appeal ruling as "another crushing verdict against the Government."
  • Internet courses and computer training

    Most of the learning is informal, but if you want something more structured, there are a range of training courses available locally and nationally.


    learndirect provides online courses, and information about the network of learndirect centres and advice about learning and leisure. You can contact learndirect on 0800 101 901, 7.00 am to 11.00 pm, Monday to Sunday.

    Internet access and training in your community

    Your local library or community centres often have internet access free of charge. Your local council or community college may also provide courses.

    UK online centres are for people who have little, or no, access to new technologies. The centres help people to develop the skills involved in using the internet to access information and send email.

    Age Concern promotes the use of computers for older people and provides learning sessions at local offices. It also offers 'taster sessions' by taking computer training to older people.

    Paying for computer training

    It's worth looking at the ways you can pay for your training. You might be able to get help to pay for a course.

    Organisations for internet users over 50

    The Baby Boomer Bistro is an internet chat site for the over 50s. It's designed to encourage discussion with each other as well as with invited experts.

    The annual Silver Surfers' day has events countrywide to give you a taste of how the internet can add to your life.

    Helping someone else get started on the internet

    If you have a friend or family member who wants to get started on the internet there are websites to help them to learn and to suggest how you can support them.

    Adapting a computer if you have special requirements

    There are a number of ways to make a computer easier to use if you can't use a keyboard. A visual representation of a keyboard on the screen may make things easier. Letters can be selected from the on-screen keyboard using the mouse or a joystick.

    Most computers have other basic built-in accessibility options including:

    • 'text-to-speech' features
    • magnifiers which increase the particular part of the screen you point to

    If you are deaf, or have a hearing impairment, some computers have on-screen displays that 'tell' you when your computer makes an alert sound, for example, an incoming email message is received.

    Bus passes

    Bus or coach travel is often a cheap option for your journey. There are also many travel concessions on offer on the buses to make getting out and about even more affordable.

    Local bus and coach travel in England

    Everyone aged 60 or over is entitled to free off-peak bus travel anywhere in England. Off-peak travel is when you travel any time after 9.30am Monday to Friday, and all day at weekends.

    Local authorities can still offer extra benefits to residents, but these will only apply for travel in your local area and not everywhere. Check with your local authority to find out whether you can get extra services.

    Local bus and coach travel in Wales

    In Wales, if you're over 60, you're entitled to a free bus pass from your local authority. You can use it at any time of the day and are entitled to travel on local bus services in any council area.

    How to apply

    You can apply to your local authority or, in urban areas, to your Passenger Transport Executive (PTE), responsible for organising public transport. You will usually have to fill in an application form and take along a passport-style photo plus proof of your age and address.

    In Scotland

    In Scotland everyone over 60 is entitled to free, local bus and scheduled long-distance coach services at any time of the day, including the morning rush hour. This scheme is run by Transport Scotland and you will need to apply for an Entitlement Card to travel for free.

    National bus and coach travel

    The National Express coach network in England and Wales, and Citylink in Scotland, can take you to most places in the UK.

    Over 60 discounts

    In England and Wales, if you're over 60, you automatically qualify for routesixty fares. This means you can travel half price on most National Express services. To find out more, telephone 08705 808 080. Some smaller companies such as Berrys and Baker Dolphin are also included in the scheme.

    In Scotland, if you're over 60, Scottish Citylink offers Senior Specials, a range of discounted fares for the over 60s that regularly changes. If you have a concessionary travel card, you may be able to travel free on some of their services. To find out more, telephone 08705 505 050.

    Extra benefits

    You can save money by combining bus-travel tickets with admission tickets. There's a range of travel extras to consider too, like inclusive coach and airport-hotel packages as well as theatre, shows and concert deals as well as tickets to European destinations.



    Pile of banknotes 

    Over 50s

    Boost your State Pension

    If you're a woman and are retired or approaching retirement, you could increase your State Pension by buying voluntary National Insurance contributions for years between 1996 and 2002

    Government launches a consultation on Conditional Indexation


    Internet use and computer training for over 50s

    To make the most of the internet, you'll need basic computer skills and if you haven't already got those then there are courses that can help you get started.

    More and more people now use the internet, and the number of older users is rapidly increasing - users over 50 are set to dominate online shopping by 2010.

    About the internet

    The internet is an interconnected network, where millions of people are linked to each other via their computers.


    While 'surfing the web', you'll have access to a wide range of information without leaving your home.

    The internet can be a great resource if you want to look up a topic or browse an internet auction site, find the cheapest deal for a new car or read about health matters or local history. You can book holidays, research your family tree or chat online. 

    Some websites - like the search website Google - are there to help you find exactly what you want online, and they give good search tips and advice on solving your internet queries.

  • History of Pensions 
    (If you have any information which can add to this history - please let me know.)

    Pensions for All - a History

    History of Pensions: A brief guide to the history of Pensions and the pensioner movement in or related to the United Kingdom

    • 1598 Poor Law Act
      Every parish was to appoint overseers of the poor to find work for the unemployed and set up parish-houses for poor people who could not support themselves.

    • 1601 Poor Law Act or Old Poor Law Act This remained in force until 1834 and is usually known as the Elizabethan Poor Law or Old Poor Law
    • 1670s First organised pension scheme for Royal Navy Officers - the life expectancy at that time was 48.
    • 1834 The Poor Law Amendment Act 1834 sometimes abbreviated to PLAA was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed by the Whig government of Earl Grey that reformed the country's poverty relief system. While called an Amendment Act it completely replaced earlier legislation based on England's Poor Law of 1601. With reference to this earlier Act the 1834 Act is also known as the New Poor Law.


    • 1885 - Agitation for National Pension prior to General Election of 1885.  Pensions mentioned at Election but no action taken.

    • 1898 - Royal Commission- Findings - 2 Million over 65, 1.3 million in want.  "Nothing can be done" but it was noted that New Zealand granted pensions for over 65s of ?35p per week.

    • 1898  The Reverend Francis Herbert Stead (1857-1928) initiated the campaign that won the Old Age Pension. Meeting held on issue of pensions at Browning Hall in London.

    • 1899  Following Browning Hall Meeting, many other meetings followed in  London, Newcastle, Durham, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham and the National Pensions Committee was formed. This was linked to National Committee of Organised Labour. F.H. Stead called for a national campaign for a universal non-contributory old age pension  at age 65. 

      The Newcastle meeting was attended by 37 delegates from Trade Unions, 29 Co-ops,  3 Trades Councils and Visitors. Unanimous demand for a Universal and non contributory pension to be funded out of general taxation.

    • ?1899 Charles Booth publishes a pamphlet demanding pensions at 70 with 35p for men and 25p for women

    • 1899  Joseph Chamberlain appointed a Select Committee on "aged and deserving poor" to look into the demand.  ?Baulked at the idea of a Universal pension claiming to great a demand on the public purse. ?17 MPs sat on the Committee. ?However, pensions were at long last - in the public arena.

    • 1899 "Old age Pensions and poor relief" issued by the
      Committee on Old Age Pensions (HD7/179),

    • 1902 George Barnes, General Secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, formed the National Committee of Organised Labour for Old Age Pension

    • 1906  A Labour Party motion advocating Old Age Pensions was approved by the House of Commons.

    • 1907  The British Constitution Association produced a pamphlet against contributory Pensions entitled "Old age Pensions- the better way" written by Sir William Chance. (HD7/41).

    • 1908 "Old-age Pensions-ways and means: a new proposal" by J. Birdsall (HD7/418)

    • 1908  "A plea for old-age Pensions" by F. Rogers (HD7/C73).

    Around this time there was a proliferation of groups advocating or against pensions.  Publications were issued by: the Society for Promoting Old Age Pensions, National Committee of Organised Labour for Promoting Old Age Pensions, the National Old Age Pension Trust, Committee on Old Age Pensions, Association to Advocate Contributory Insurance, National Association of Insurance Committees and the Fabian Society (Fabian Tract no.89).

    • 1908 - On 1st August 1908 Lloyd George introduced the Old Age Pensions Act.  The Act provided for a non-contributory old age pension for persons over the age of 70. It was enacted in January 1909 and paid a weekly pension of between 1s  and 5s (= to 10p to 25p) a week (7s 6d = to 37.5p) for married couples) to half a million who were eligible. The level of benefit was deliberately set low to encourage workers to also make their own provision for retirement. In order to be eligible, they had to be earning less than £31.50 per year, and had to pass a 'character test'; only those with a 'good character' could receive the pensions. Those who had habitually failed to work or had been imprisoned received nothing from the scheme. (David Lloyd George, the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Liberal government was also an opponent of the Poor Law in Britain. He was determined to take action that in his words would "lift the shadow of the workhouse from the homes of the poor").

    • 1909 "Pensions Day" 1st January - commenced first general old age pension paying a non-contributory weekly amount of between 1s  and 5s (= to 10p to 25p)or (7s 6d = to 37.5p) for married couples), from age 70, on a means-tested basis.  Over half a million individuals collected their first National Pensions. 1700 collected their pension in Southwark where the agitation first began in 1885, 24 years previously


    • 1912  the Liberal Publications Department issued a pamphlet entitled "The National Insurance Act and its proposals summarised and explained" (HD7/177)ntitled "The National Insurance Act and its proposals summarised and explained" (HD7/177)

    • 1913 - The National Union of Conservative and Unionist Associations issued a leaflet entitled "National Insurance Act: denounced by the Friendly Society officials" in 1913 (HD7/180).

    • 1919 - Pension increased to 10s (50p).

    • 1921 Finance Act - tax relief granted to pension schemes satisfying certain conditions.

    • 1924 - The Labour Party issued a number of pamphlets including "Labour and war Pensions" in 1924 (HD7/252) and "Labour's fight for the old folk" which outlined the development of old age Pensions.

    • 1925 Contributory Pensions Act - set up a contributory State scheme for manual workers and others earning up to ?250 a year. The pension was 50p a week from age 65.

    • 1928 "Co-operative employees and superannuation funds" written by A.W. Petch (HD7/A31)

    • 1931 the National Joint Industrial Council for the Flour Milling Industry "Group pension scheme as finally approved by the trustees" (HD7/190)  (Ocupational Pensions)

    • 1932  The National Industrial Alliance published "Pensions for all"(HD7/188).

    • 1932  "Pension, provident and benevolent funds" Bournville Works (HD7/189)    (Ocupational Pensions)

    • 1935 The National Spinsters' Pensions Association was established by women textile workers in Bradford to demand contributory pensions at 55. Annie Marienne Marsland (1899-1989) was their Treasurer from 1935 to 1945. By 1938 the organisation had 125,000 members in 97 branches and produced a monthly journal entitled 'The Spinster'. They also collected 1 million signatures for a petition for their aims and were successful in lobbying for a parliamentary commission for pensions of unmarried women. This reported in 1939 and as a result the age for unmarried women's eligibility for a state pension was reduced to 60 in 1940.

    • 1937 First official meeting of SOAPA (Scottish Old Age Pensioners Association) took place within the British Legion at Halls in the Canongate, Edinburgh.

    • 1938 Old Age Pensions Movement formed. 

    • 1939 Old Age Pensions Movement handed Petition to Parliament with 2 million signatures (forerunner to Pensioners Voice)

    • 1940 National Federation of Old Age Pensions Associations formed.
      See notable events

    • 1940 unmarried women's eligibility for a state pension was reduced to 60.

    • 1941 Life Expectancy had risen for Women to 64 and Men to 59

    • 1942 "Labour's fight for the old folk" which outlined the development of old age Pensions was published.

    • 1942 Sir William Beveridge publishes his "Social Insurance and Allied Services" report with state welfare proposals.

    • 1946 National Insurance Act - introduced contributory State pension for all. Initially Pensions were £1.30 a week for a single person and £2.10 for a married couple. Paid from age 65 for men and 60 for women, effective from 1948.

    • 1947 Finance Act - limited the maximum amount of tax relief on Pensions, and the proportion that could be taken as a lump sum.

    • 1948 National Federation of Old Age Pensions Associations presented their fourth Petition on November 3rd, 1948, with 2,300,000 signatures.

    • 1953 Pensioners' progress: the story of the fight for the aged people of Great Britain" by E. Melling and issued by the National Federation of Old Age Pensions Associations (HD7/C8)

    • 1959 National Insurance Act - introduced a top-up state Pensions scheme, based on earnings and known as the graduated pension. Covered earnings between ?9 and ?15 a week.

    • 1959 Labour's policy for security in old age" was published HD7/C133).

    • 1966 "Guide to company pension schemes" by the Labour Research Department (HD7/C135),

    • 1970 Life expectancy for Women was 74 and for Men 69

    • 1971 "The future for Pensions" by J. Worsden, issued by the Aims of Industry (HD7/B132)

    • 1972 British Pensioners and Trade Union Action Association BP&TUAA was formally established.

    • 1973 "What about the pensioners" by Jack Jones published by the Transport and General Workers Union (HD7/A30),  

    • 1973 The Greater London Pensioners Association was set up.

    • 1975 "Financing public sector Pensions" by R. Nottage published by the Royal Institute of Public Administration  (HD7/B242)

    • 1975 Social Security Pensions Act - set up the State Earnings related Pension Scheme (Serps). Introduced in 1978, the scheme replaced graduated Pensions. Rules for contracting out were also introduced, whereby workers with adequate private provision can give up all or part of the benefits of Serps. In return they pay lower National Insurance contributions.  

    • 1979 the Joint Committee of Senior Citizens (forerunner to The National Pensioners Convention) was set up by Jack Jones.

    • 1980 Social Security Act - Link between state pension increases and average earnings broken by Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government. If the link with earnings had not been broken, a basic state pension for a single pensioner would be worth about ?30 a week more.

    • 1985 Strathclyde Elderly Forum was formed to act as the umbrella body for local forums in the West of Scotland.  This was considered to be the first Forum to be established in this way.

    • 1986 Financial Services Act - set out terms and conditions under which investment business could be conducted. Changes to contracting out.

    • 1988  The Greater London Forum for the Elderly (GLF) was set up as an 'umbrella' organisation for Forums in all the London Boroughs.

    • 1989 - Pensioners Liaison Forum formed

    • 1991/2 Maxwell scandal. Mirror newspaper proprietor Robert Maxwell used about £460m from his group's pension funds to finance business dealings.

    • 1995 Pensions Act - response to Maxwell, which set up regulatory and compensation schemes.

    • 1997 Removed tax credits for pension funds on company dividends.

    • 1999 At the Annual Conference of SOAPA it was overwhelmingly agreed to drop the two words "OLD AGE" and the organisation was renamed Scottish Pensions Association.

    • 1999 Introduction of Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG), income support for poorest pensioners.

    • 2000 Strathclyde Elderly Forum changed it's name to West of Scotland Seniors Forum. This was a result of a proposal by Seniors Network to get rid of the inappropriate word "elderly".  This helped to create a new image and led to many other forums following its example.

    • 2000 The government "insulted" pensioners by offering them a 75p increase in the basic state pension. 'Lifting pensioners out of poverty?    However All pensioners over 75 will receive a free TV licence.

    • 2001 Barbara Castle attacked Chancellor Gordon Brown's refusal to link pensions to earnings at the Labour party conference.   

    • 2001 Introduction of stakeholder Pensions, a low-cost Pensions scheme aimed at people on low to average earnings and helping women save for old age

    • 2001 New FRS17 accounting rules introduced which require companies to report pension deficits (or surpluses) in the year the deficit occurred. (This is believed to have contributed to heavy losses on the Stock Exchange and exacerbated the "Pensions Crisis".)

    • 2002 British pensioner Annette Carson, who lives in South Africa, failed in her legal challenge against the UK government to have her pension uprated with inflation. The case has implications for thousands of British ex-pat pensioners worldwide.

    • 2002 Switch from Serps to the State Second Pension scheme.

    • 2003 Introduction of the Pension Credit, which will bring half a million pensioners into means-testing.

    • 2003: Pension order books phased out. Those without bank accounts get cheques.

    • 2004 Pensions Act introduced the Pensions Protection Fund, stronger regulation of funds and increased participation by Member Nominated Trustees.

    • 2005 The Turner commission report outlining solution to the pensions impasse published on 30 November, expected to recommend a higher state pension funded by a rise in the retirement age, and an automatic national savings scheme.

    • 2006 Paupers Progress   by Joe Harris. With a forward by Prof. Alan Walker, it's a short history, with illustrations, of Poor Relief and the struggle to establish the Old Age Pension. Cost £3.50 (inc p&p)

    • 2008 1st January - State Pension Centenary campaign launched by National Pensioners Convention - new website at

    • 2008: Cheques still used to pay 400,000 pensioners, disabled and unemployed people.

    • 2010 ????: Government replaces all benefit cheques with pre-paid plastic cards.