SAVE FREE TV LICENCES FOR OVER 75s
Silver Voices is working with other pensioner organisations to prevent the BBC from scrapping free TV licences for older people. Sign the petition (at https://www.ageuk.org.uk/our-impact/campaigning/save-free-tv-for-older-people/) calling on the Government to take back responsibility for this universal benefit, which helps to combat loneliness and social isolation.
MENTAL CAPACITY AMENDMENT BILL
New legislation to make it easier to lock up those living with dementia is going through Parliament. Hospital managers and care home managers will be given more powers without adequate independent safeguards. Silver Voices is supporting the Law Society and others in opposing these measures. The petition can be signed here: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/protect-the-human-rights-of-people-receiving-care-and-support.
Silver Voices supports the WASPI campaign (Women Against State Pension Inequality) on behalf of the millions of women born in the 1950s who lost out as a result of the accelerated timetable to equalise the state pension age at 65. Full details on the WASPI website (http://www.waspi.co.uk)
SILVER VOICES CAMPAIGN PRIORITIES
We conducted a survey of all members to determine our campaign priorities for the next six months. Health funding and the social care crisis came top of the list, followed by more funding and support for informal carers, privatisation of public services and the state of residential care.
BUDGET 2018: EMERGENCY FUNDING FOR SOCIAL CARE
Silver Voices is taking part in a lobby of MPs at their local surgeries to argue for emergency funding for social care in the 2018 Budget.
Silver Voices is campaigning against the rationing of services by the NHS through limitations on access. This new policy is designed to force patients in discomfort to go to the private sector.
After a 89% vote in favour by Silver Voices members, we are now supporting the People's Vote Campaign. We believe the people should be able to decide between the final position reached in the negotiations with the EU and remaining in the EU on current terms.
We are working with Independent Age on a campaign to combat the scourge of continuing age discrimination in society.
SCRAP VOTER ID
Silver Voices has joined forces with many other charities and voluntary bodies to call for a halt in Government moves to introduce mandatory voter ID for elections; because of the risks of disenfranchisment of certain voter groups such as senior citizens.
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.
GREEN PAPER ON SOCIAL CARE
The Government had promised a Green Paper on the future funding of social care by the summer of 2018 (now delayed yet again to the autumn). 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.
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.
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.
THE GOVERNMENT DROPPED THIS PLAN IN THE END
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.
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.
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.