Digest – May 2022

Digest – May 2022


May 2022

 “One of the advantages of being over 70 is that you only need 4 hours sleep.  True, but you need it four times a day”

(Dennis Norden)

Brian Billins

Was to have been this month’s speaker.  Regrettably he was taken ill last weekend and went into hospital.  I’m sure we all wish him well and a speedy recovery.

Campaign News

We welcome Clyde Saunders as a new member.  At the last meeting three others took membership forms.  Let’s hope they come good.  Otherwise we now have a relationship with Jo who is the Community Champion at Tesco.  She is expected to provide some raffle prizes and may go on to tell us about her Tesco activity.  It is notable that Tesco does support a huge variety of local organisations.

Local Government

The result of the City Council elections last week were not much of a surprise.  They were no reflection of the fact that Southend has consistently returned two Conservatives to Parliament.  I wonder if that will change next time.

Pension Credit

This will bring a single person’s income up to £182.60 a week and a couples to £278.70.

If the household income does not reach these amounts then the difference can be claimed.  What counts as income is pensions, earnings and social security benefits. 

Not all benefits are counted as income. For example, the following are not counted:

  • Adult Disability Payment
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Christmas Bonus
  • Child Benefit
  • Disability Living Allowance
  • Personal Independence Payment
  • Social fund payments like Winter Fuel Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Reduction

A leaflet containing more information will be distributed at the May meeting.  If you did not attend and wish to claim let myself or Jean know.

The Queen’s Speech

NPC didn’t think much of it:

NPC Verdict: Disappointing Queen’s Speech fails those in desperate need now

Comment by Jan Shortt, General Secretary, National Pensioners’ Convention

In the middle of one of the worst cost-of-living crises in living memory the government had a real chance to step up and help those most affected – our oldest and poorest. But today they failed, showing little compassion for the immediate struggles of vulnerable people.

The National Pensioners’ Convention had hoped the Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament today (Tuesday, 10th May) would contain measures to provide real, and urgent financial assistance to those overwhelmed by inflationary prices, and a more than doubling of energy bills.

Instead, they outlined legislation promising longer term changes, which frankly will not help those having to choose between buying food or paying their rent or energy bills right now.

People on low and fixed incomes pay a much higher proportion of their income on essentials – there is no way they can find the extra money when costs rise so rapidly.

Spiralling energy costs, rocketing inflation and a succession of government policies which have lowered the real value of pensions and benefits, mean millions more face poverty in the coming months. It is a disaster that is only set to get worse as we approach autumn and another round of energy hikes.

But it is not just government’s lack of provision for the cost-of-living crisis. The NPC has concerns about what they have promised – they are outlined below:

  • Public Order – we are concerned that this will prevent democratic protest by older people in circumstances where government policy undermines the dignity and respect for pensioners. It also must take account of the Bill of Rights.
  • Conversion therapy – we disagree with the fact that the ban does not cover transgender and our LGBT working party will be asking for the government to meet with us to listen to our members concerns.
  • Energy Security Bill – long term on sustainable energy – been ongoing for years with no progress. What about the poverty and deprivation now?
  • Mental Health Bill – not before time but we need to digest whether it will address the amount of funding needed to make it work.
  • Bill of Rights – we will monitor. The rights of older people have been seriously eroded in recent years and we will be looking for this to be tackled in any new legislation,
  • Financial Services Bill – at last, legislation to give access to cash. However, there is still the issue of banks already closed on high streets. We need to know how the government will support communities where there are no banks and very little transport to get to the nearest one.
  • Renters Bill – again long overdue, as an increasing number of older people are among those having to rent in the private sector. Along with the Social Housing Regulation Bill, we would hope to see much needed decent homes standards applied across the board.
  • On-Line Harms Bill – needs to put more emphasis on the responsibilities of platform providers who make profit from their services; compensation for those scammdirect

With thanks to Shoebury weekly newsletter:

Have your say on new public artwork

Focal Point Gallery and Creative Estuary are delighted to announce the commission of a new, major public artwork that will welcome visitors and residents to the UK’s newest City – Southend-On-Sea. Lu Williams’ impactful, ambitious, and fun concept will transform the current, uninspiring ‘gateway’ to the city’s famous High Street, as approached from Southend Victoria and Victoria Avenue. 

Scam Corner

Please be aware that text and emails are being sent out under the of the delivery company Evri, they are saying they have a parcel for you and need a payment of £1.49, a figure that doesn’t raise alarm, but this is to get your bank details. Delete them, do not answer them.

Dates for your Diary

Until early September:  Bandstand music at Pritttlewell Priory Park on Sunday afternoons. Be early as parking is limited.

22 May:  Fund raising for Ukraine event at the fisherman’s Chapel, New Road, Leigh.  11 to 3pm.

1 June:  fundraising lunch at Beefeater, Strawberry Fields.  Noon. Register with Jean.  01702 341047, 07952 546810

1 June:  Party at Leigh Community Centre.  Noon to 1:30.  Music by the Ray Miso Trio.  Get afternoon tea.  Book in advance on 01702 716288.  £2.

4-5 June:  Isabella’s open garden at 42 Theobald’s Road, Leigh, SS9 2NE.  The lady switches her time between here and Greece.  What you see will reflect this.  Book at www.findagarden.ngs.org.uk.

11 June:  Genting Casino on the waterfront. Moulin Rouge themed lunch @ 1pm.  £40.  Tel 01702 352919.

15 June:  Members meeting.  Talk on Trust Links – Mental Health in our Community.  Balmoral Centre,  Salisbury Road, Westcliff

© JDS/ May 2022.  Tel 01702 472670


Email:  bartonpye@aol.com