This year marks the 70th anniversary of VE Day, the end of WWII in Europe. As a nation the UK stood together, fought together and made sacrifices together and in so doing saw off the Far Right in Europe.
But things didn’t end there, having had to sacrifice so much in war the country resolved that peace-time Britain had to mean more than it had before and the years which followed saw the formation of our NHS and the modern welfare state. A nation which had won the war together were determined to win the peace together too.
The formidableness of a generation which both saw off the Nazis and built the welfare state is clearly apparent and in subsequent years that fact that our senior citizens had been through a war ensured people recognised the respect they were due.
Yet recently the respect for older citizens doesn’t always seem to be there. I’ve written previously of the crisis in care home places which has been allowed to develop and the impact of rising prices on those with fixed incomes will always be painful.
These problems can be addressed, but it requires a Government with a belief in the importance of us standing together to create a fairer society.
Last week Labour unveiled policies which will protect pensioners’ incomes and improve care. Amongst the proposals, the party will reinforce the triple-lock protection on pensions, cap fees and charges on new products to provide the same protection when people draw-down on pension savings they get when they put money in, and work to tackle living costs by freezing energy bills and offering free efficiency improvements to households at risk of fuel poverty.
We’re pushing the county council to reopen care homes near Crawley and Labour will end the culture of 15-minute care slots by employing 5,000 new homecare workers and introducing new safety checks for vulnerable older people.
The UK was a country which stood together in tough times and we can be again. We could do worse than to start by supporting those who have already given us so much.
Cllr Chris Oxlade
Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate