Defend the State Pension, Older & Bolder Campaign
Resource type: Video
Older & Bolder Premiers Online Campaign Film Made By Award-Winning Director to Help Defend The State Pension
21 October 2010
Alliance to undertake nationwide lobby and petition campaign over coming weeks
Government should focus on reforming tax reliefs rather than further cutting the State Pension
Older & Bolder today premiered an online campaign film to defend the State Pension and other essential income supports. This powerful short film, directed by award-winning Director, Ken Wardrop, has been optimised for online viewing and will help spread the campaign message to a broader audience. The film will be hosted on YouTube and www.olderandbolder.ie.
Older & Bolder’s Project Director, Patricia Conboy, explained the purpose behind the campaign film.
“The Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan TD, has made it clear that cutting Ireland’s pension bill is very much ‘on the table’ in December’s Budget so we need to make clear to the decision makers and the wider public what impact such a policy would have on older people.”
Ms Conboy explained that the film features a series of older people, filmed outdoors, speaking directly to camera about what the State Pension means to them and to those around them, and how they’d be affected if it was reduced.
“The film offers an unusual take on an important issue, using a striking contrast to draw out the campaign message. What makes the words expressed in the film both powerful and poignant is that the people appearing in the film are standing, without shelter, under sheets of heavy rain.
“The words of the people in reflect the authentic views and opinions garnered by Older & Bolder from consultation meetings with older people right across the country over the last two years. By putting these thoughts and perspectives into this short film we hope to draw the attention of policy makers and the wider public – right across the generations – to this critical issue and the profoundly negative impact a cut in the State Pension would have.”
Returning to the issue of the Government wanting to further cut its pensions bill – it cut the State Pension last year by 2% with the removal of the Christmas Bonus, older people reliant on State Pensions are also directly affected by the carbon levy, prescription and dental charges – Patricia Conboy pointed out that the Government has alternatives to reducing the State Pension and income supports.
“€4.3 billion was the cost of funding the State Pension in 2008. A majority of older people are reliant on the State Pension and associated supports for three quarters of their household income. Tax reliefs on private pensions cost €3 billion and gave the greatest level of support to those with the highest levels of income. In terms of both equity and efficiency, the focus in the Budget should be on reform of tax reliefs rather than cuts to the State Pension.”
Ms Conboy explained that the campaign film is part of a suite of actions that Older & Bolder and its nationwide network of older people’s groups will be undertaking in advance of the Budget.
“Our campaign has just recently got underway and already we have gotten almost 10,000 people to sign our petition and we’re expecting thousands more by Budget time. Older people’s groups will be active right around the country getting the petitions and postcards signed and we have an online version at www.olderandbolder.ie that people can sign too. We have already started lobbying Oireachtas members and potential Dail candidates in their constituencies and we are planning a co-ordinated nationwide lobby in early November,” Patricia Conboy concluded.
Older & Bolder is an alliance of eight non-governmental organisations in the
ageing sector: Active Retirement Ireland, Age & Opportunity, Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Carers Association, Irish Hospice Foundation, Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, Older Women’s Network and the Senior Help Line.
Older & Bolder is an Atlantic grantee.