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18th April
Updated from time to time

Pensioners to rally over reforms, call for free Werthers Originals

Pensioners are to protest over planned reforms, which they say will not help people already struggling to pay bills and still afford the Radio Times.

The National Pensioners Convention, the armed militant wing of the Over 60s and organiser of today's central London stick-waving event, says the Pensions White Paper contains "nothing of immediate benefit, probably, but it's difficult to tell because we left our other glasses on the bus, and the print is so small, lovey".

It will use today's event to call for the link between earnings and pensions to be restored immediately; for a 30-a-week rise in the state pension, to 114.50; free Werthers Originals; and the return of "Sale of the Century".

A government spokesman said, "Our initiatives have helped lift millions out of poverty. I SAID OUR INITIATIVES HAVE HELPED LIFT MILLIONS OUT OF POVERTY. MMMMMM. YES."

The NPC said an "army of pensioners" would descend on Parliament, wander around aimlessly complaining about the number of Johnny Foreigners in London, and present a petition to Downing Street, as long as the 45A from Poole passed the end of the road, before adding, "I'm 94, you know."

Earlier this year, the government announced in its White Paper that it would restore the good old days once and for all - but not for at least six years. The original good old days were abolished under the Conservative government in 1980.

The government also said it would make it easier for people to qualify for the full basic state pension, but not until 2010. This was announced at the same time as the new Four Year Euthanasia Plan was unveiled.

The NPC said an average of 500,000 pensioners would die every year before the reinstatement of the link to earnings, and the UK just couldn't sustain that number of funeral teas of ham sandwiches, cheese-and-pineapple on sticks and warm sherry.

Gladys Sidebottom, general secretary of the NPC, said: "Already one in five older people live below the poverty line and millions more are being forced into Lidls or Nettos by rising fuel and council tax bills. There's a good chance many mantelpiece knick-knacks and pictures of Spanish Ladies will need to be sold in order to fund retirements. This will flood the market and bring many car boot sales to their knees. Have I told you about my knees? Ohh the trouble I've had..."

She said the National Insurance Fund was so large, every pensioner could have a pension of at least 114 for a number of years, a fish supper, seats for two at the Roxy and still have change for a bus home.

However, the Department for Work and Pensions said tackling pensioners "has been our first priority". "Since 1997 initiatives such as Pensioner Slingshot have helped to lift more than two million pensioners out of baths and a million more out of musty armchairs," said a spokesman.

"Today, no pensioner should be living on less than 114 per week, compared to 69 per week 10 years ago. They can get all the Mackeson Stout they want."

He said tax and benefit changes meant average pensioner households were better off, but the government's proposed "bold reforms" would give people more generous provision from the state and establish a new culture of younger people, he added, which are a lot less bother.
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