New Communist Party of Britain
New Communist Party of Britain
adopted December 2015
The New Communist Party recognises that people age at different rates according to their life experiences, especially at work. Many reach the current retirement age feeling fit and well and may wish to continue in paid employment.
But many more arrive at that age after a life of strenuous work, stress and hardship looking forward to a well‑earned period of rest and leisure before failing health renders them incapable. Many have already had encounters with serious conditions like cancer, heart disease, lung disease and so on. And as we age we also accumulate chronic conditions like high blood pressure, digestive problems, reduced hearing and failing eyesight.
So although at first glance we may still enjoy work‑related activity we no longer have our old stamina.
For this reason the New Communist Party opposes all attempts to raise the pension age and we call for it to be lowered to 60.
In an ideal (socialist) world as we begin to age, and lose stamina, usually from the mid‑fifties — our working hours would gradually reduce giving us more rest and leisure with no reduction in wages or pension entitlement. We would reduce to a four‑day week, then three‑day and so on. Under these circumstances many more would probably wish to carry on working just one or two days a week even into their seventies. But that would have to be entirely voluntary.
The New Communist Party proposes that the state pension should be payable to both men and women from the age of 60 and should be calculated on the basis of two thirds of the median weekly wage. On this basis the state pension would rise to £268 per week.
Another important issue for the elderly is that of health and security, which is inevitably of greater concern with the coming of age. Wherever possible elderly people should remain in their own home, whether owned or rented, with modifications provided by social services, such as entrance ramps, hand rails, telephone, emergency alarms and simple to use electronic means of communication such as Skype
If this is not practical for reasons of health, then accommodation in a residential nursing home must be provided. On no account should it be suggested that couples be separated. The reliance on private residential homes has proved a disaster with untrained ''carers'' highlighted by the Southern Cross scandal, which has proved the need for such services to be part of the National Health system, and not for private profit.
Another facility for the elderly that must be maintained is the Day Centre, which should provide meals at reasonable prices and social activities such as physical exercises, dances, bingo and coach trips to stimulate the mind. Facilities vary and there are often hairdressers, a visiting nurse and chiropodist available. Some Day Centres are also used as a base for Meals on Wheels which are available for those unable to leave home.
We are all aware of the closure of libraries, post offices and even banks, which poses a problem of access to these offices or facilities. For the elderly it imposes an extra, sometimes difficult travel cost. We note that the Tory party has threatened the universal free bus pass and the winter fuel payment for pensioners. We demand that not only should the free bus pass be maintained, it should he made a universal pass for bus, train and Underground.
The New Communist Party supports pensioner groups fighting to defend the freedom pass and the winter fuel payments.