PENSIONERS have drawn up a hard-hitting manifesto just in time for their annual parliament this week.
A nine-strong group from the Huddersfield and District Pensioners' Organisation was among more than 2,000 dele- gates who travelled to the Pensioners' Parliament in Blackpool yesterday.
Issues under discussion at the three-day event included higher pensions, free travel for the elderly and better health care.
Pensioners hope the manifesto will go some way to improving their lot.
With 11m people over the age of 60 in the UK, they wield a huge sway over the ballot box.
"Give us our dignity back," said Noreen Logan, chairman of the Huddersfield group. "It's terribly difficult when you give up work and you have got to start counting the pennies when you have done your duty by the country and you have been a sober, hard-working and responsible citizen."
While the state pension has fallen in value and workers have been encouraged to save privately for their old age, falling stock markets have hit the value of nest-eggs.
"So many people have saved and lost money," said Mrs Logan.
Despite Britain having the fourth strongest economy in the world, one in five British pensioners live below the poverty line.
Pensioners are also asking that they should be able to travel free around the UK.
Among the speakers at the Pensioners' Parliament will be pensions minister Malcolm Wicks.
* The Pensioners' Parliament is calling for all OAPs to receive a basic state pension of £105 a week
* It also wants the link between the state pension and earnings to be restored, and the pension book to be retained
* In addition, it is calling for free annual health checks for pensioners, free personal and nursing care and the abolition of council tax, with local services funded through national taxation, business rates and Government grants.