Britain: Pensioners turn out to fight cuts

October 30, 2010

Thousands of pensioners descended on British parliament to reject the government’s pension cuts on October 27.

Angry pensioners pledged to escalate the fight against the cuts by joining spirited protests up and down the land against the government’s public spending cuts.

Nearly 1000 activists from the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) converged on Westminster to protest against vicious cuts in vital services and to demand a basic state pension of at least £171 a week.

NPC general secretary Dot Gibson was cheered at a lively rally in the Methodist Central Hall as she declared: “We have to make a stand together.

“We stand together with students, school children, teachers, disabled people and trade unionists.”

She said: “We are not going back to the poverty and want of the 1930s.”

Some of the pensioners donned Prime Minister David Cameron or deputy PM Nick Clegg masks and bore placards proclaiming: “We are all in this together, but it’s still billions for the bankers and peanuts for pensioners.”

The event took place amid a wave of scepticism over leaked reports of government plans to introduce a future pension of £140 a week for all, but only to future pensioners. NPC leaders pointed out the plan appeared to abolish the present state second pension.

Trade Union Congress president Michael Leahy, also general secretary of trade union Community, called for “the biggest, broadest and best” national anti-cuts demonstration in history on March 26.

But there were shouts from the hall of “too late!”

Public service union Unison deputy general secretary Keith Sonnett urged a powerful alliance to fight the biggest-ever cuts to the welfare state.

The meeting gave an enthusiastic welcome to Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins and Green MP Caroline Lucas.
Lucas, the British Green Party’s first parliamentarian, expressed confidence that if people united together, “we have a very very good chance of overcoming this very, very cruel government”.
Hopkins said: “This government has started a right-wing revolution which has to be reversed.”
Cheers erupted as he added: “I think we have got to take a look at the French.”

Hopkins called for a state pension of £200 per week by 2015. He said: “This is going to be a long hard fight, but in the end we are going to have to defeat this government, and defeat it we will.”

[Abridged from .]

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