Portsmouth pensioners rally at Westminster over social care

PROTEST Audrey Walsh, Margaret Allaway, Vernon Powell, Sue Ely, John Jordan, Sheila Powell, Joan Freeman, June Clarkson of the Portsmouth Pensioners Association in London.
PROTEST Audrey Walsh, Margaret Allaway, Vernon Powell, Sue Ely, John Jordan, Sheila Powell, Joan Freeman, June Clarkson of the Portsmouth Pensioners Association in London.
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THEY flew the flag for Portsmouth in a national rally urging the government to change the social care system.

Campaigners from the Portsmouth Pensioners’ Association (PPA) travelled to the House of Commons yesterday to take part in a lobby organised by the National Pensioners Convention (NPC).

It was held to launch the NPC’s Fair Care campaign, which calls for a tax-funded national care service to run alongside the NHS.

Around 80 people from across the country attended the event in committee room 14.

They heard talks from Dot Gibson, general secretary of the NCP, Kelvin Hopkins, Labour MP for Luton North, Baroness Sally Greengross, Allison Roche from Unison and Margaret Hodge, Labour MP.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, who last week backed the pensioners for rallying, attended the meeting.

It was held on the same day shadow health secretary Andy Burnham called an emergency 90-minute debate in an attempt to reverse controversial NHS reforms through the Health and Social Care Bill.

The campaign was introduced by Mrs Gibson, who said the NPC was ‘proud’ to launch it.

She said: ‘It’s saying we want a national care service paid through taxation. People will turn to us and say it’s pie in the sky, but we are arguing against that.’

The PPA trip was organised by group secretary 78-year-old June Clarkson, who said afterwards: ‘It’s important I get as many members as I can to hear national speakers, they can hear something that’s professional.

‘The case is valid. Putting money on tax would pay for it but this country is hell-bent on privatising everything – schools, roads, hospitals.’

Vernon Powell, 71, of Portsmouth, added: ‘When the elderly are in their homes and go into residential or private homes, we are concerned people have to give up all their savings, insurances, pensions, even selling their homes to keep them in these various places and we think that should be taken up by the government.’

Sue Ely, 65, from Gosport, said: ‘I do think the NHS social care bill will go through parliament and we will have to carry on and try our best to deliver care to older people.’