We are working with Independent Age on a campaign to combat the scourge of continuing age discrimination in society.
OPEN LETTER TO JEREMY HUNT
As part of the Care and Support Alliance, Silver Voices is promoting an open letter to Jeremy Hunt calling upon him to fix the social care crisis. The letter can be signed here www.careandsupportalliance.com/letter.
COMMONWEALTH SENIOR CITIZENS DENIED HEALTHCARE
Silver Voices is supporting the campaign to reverse Home Office and NHS guidance which is denying mostly black Commonwealth senior citizens, who have lived and worked in the UK for most of their lives, from life-saving NHS treatment. https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/end-racism-in-nhs-healthcare
GREEN PAPER ON SOCIAL CARE
The Government has promised a Green Paper on the future funding of social care by the summer of 2018. Silver Voices will be campaigning alongside our partner organisations to influence the debate in line with our manifesto. We have joined the Care and Support Alliance of 80 leading charities to further this cause.
A survey of Silver Voices members showed 77% support for a second Referendum on Brexit to choose between the final deal on offer and remaining in the EU. We believe that the people rather than Parliament should have the final say on an issue which will shape the future of the UK for generations to come.
Silver Voices is supporting the Alzheimer's Society campaign to draw attention to the fact that there is already a 'dementia tax'. Dementia does not qualify for free care unlike other medical conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
GENERAL ELECTION 2017
Silver Voices analysed all the political parties' manifestos from a senior citizens' viewpoint to help our members decide which way to vote. We concluded that we could not advise our members to vote for the Conservatives because of their policies on pensions, health and social care and the winter fuel payment. A survey of Silver Voices members, asking for their top three priorities to be addressed by the political parties in their manifestos, found that a massive 94% identified resolution of the health and social care crisis as a top priority, double that on any other issue. The second most popular priority was 'more investment in retirement and special care housing' (47%), followed by protection of the state pension 'triple lock' (38%).
CAMPAIGNING TO SUPPORT THE TRIPLE LOCK AND THE WINTER FUEL PAYMENT
Parliamentary pressure is growing to scrap the Triple Lock (guaranteeing a minimum 2.5% annual increase in the basic state pension) and to means-test the Winter Fuel Payment (WFP). A survey of Silver Voices members has shown massive support for retaining these entitlements with many pointing to the very low level of the basic state pension in comparison to other developed countries; making it almost impossible to retire in dignity without other sources of income. Means testing the WFP would cost more in administration than it would save and many vulnerable pensioners would slip through the net. Silver Voices will be urging MPs to resist attacks on these hard-won entitlements.
WHY THE SECRET NHS PLANS MUST BE PUBLISHED
Silver Voices is demanding the publication of the secret Sustainability and Transformation Plans submitted to NHS England by local areas. Information has emerged that the plans contain major cuts in service provision, including the closure of community hospitals, downgrading of A and E units and reductions in hospital beds.
Silver Voices is backing a campaign by the charity Action on Elder Abuse for elder abuse to be recognised as an aggravated criminal offence with statutory minimum sentences. Their petition on the Government petitions' website can be accessed at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/132323 .
FUNDING FOR THE NHS
Silver Voices conducted a survey of members giving ten different options for finding the billions of pounds required to restore our NHS and social care system. Members were asked to identify their top three priorities from the list, taken singly or together ,that would raise the funds required. 68% wanted to increase general taxation or national insurance, 62% wanted to minimize tax evasion and divert savings to the NHS and 62% wanted to scrap Trident. Only 20% supported the Brexit case to use net annual savings from EU contributions for the NHS.
ATTENDANCE ALLOWANCES CAMPAIGN
The Government is threatening to devolve the responsibility for attendance allowances to local authorities which is likely to lead to tightened eligibility rules and a postcode lottery. Sign the 38 degrees petition at https://secure.38degrees.org.uk/attendance-allowance-petition .
THE GOVERNMENT DROPPED THIS PLAN IN THE END
WASPI PENSIONS CAMPAIGN
Silver Voices is supporting Women Against State Pension Inequality (WASPI) in their campaign to highlight and resolve the gross anomalies caused by the implementation of the equalisation of the state pension age, affecting over a million women.
Sign their petition on the following link: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/110776
MEALS ON WHEELS PETITION
Silver Voices is supporting the petition launched with Meals on Wheels Week calling for the meals on wheels service to be protected as a statutory service. 46,000 older people have had this vital service stripped from them in the last five years.
Sign the petition at: http://www.thenacc.co.uk/events/governmentpetition
SCAMMERS AND SENIOR CITIZENS
Silver Voices has sent out a briefing to members, warning of the dangers faced by senior citizens from scammers, including in respect of pension pots. We also draw attention to the excellent work of the anti-scamming charity Think Jessica www.thinkjessica.com.
Silver Voices has consulted our members on what our initial campaign priorities should be following the General Election. The top six issues emerging from this consultation are: NHS privatisation, the social care crisis, better pay and conditions for home care workers, more affordable supported and special care housing, better treatment of dementia and support for older carers.
UNISON'S ETHICAL CARE CAMPAIGN
UNISON is calling on local authorities to sign up to their Ethical Care Charter to tackle both the scandal of home care workers' employment conditions and the growing trend of 15 minute flying care visits to vulnerable old people. You can contact your local councillor on this issue by clicking on this link
Our first priority campaign is to build the new organisation up to a critical mass of members so that we can launch petitions, surveys and e-mail campaigns.
So please circulate all your friends, families and networks with the link to the Silver Voices website and urge them to join. Founder members will be kept informed on the progress in building the membership base.
The NPC’s Dignity Code highlights the importance of basic human rights in the provision of health and care services for old people. Over 50 local authorities have endorsed the code so far, together with health and care providers, unions, politicians and academics. There is much more work to be done to make the code the essential reference point in any legislation on the enforcement of standards and embedded in all contracts for social care providers.
The Dignity Code is outlined below. Further information on this and other NPC campaigns are available from www.npcuk.org