Scottish Pensions Association Conference

A large gathering of senior citizens enjoyed a lively annual conference of the Scottish Pensions Associating in Edinburgh on the 15th of April.  George Henderson, OBE chaired the conference which was the seventy third in the Association’s history.  Keynote speakers were Margo MacDonald MSP, Justin Glass from the Glasgow Old People’s Welfare Association and David Borrowman from Caesar and Howie. A theme of all the speeches was the lack of publicity given to many of the benefits available, as of right to senior citizens.  The speakers emphasised that this resulted in many benefits readily available not being taken up through lack of knowledge in the senior citizens community.  Justin Glass highlighted in particular the lack of take up by senior citizens of Attendance Allowance, a completely non means tested benefit which has transformed the lives of many older folk.  Justin forcefully made the point that this benefit was still not claimed by many senior citizens who were clearly entitled to receive it.  David Borrowman made a similar point, advising the audience of the generous legal aid available to pensioners in Scotland and yet not known to many.   David pointed out to the audience that Wills, Powers of Attorney and Living Wills could all be completed under legal aid and that according to the Scottish Legal Aid Board probably 80% of pensioners would qualify for financial help in preparing them.    Margo MacDonald delighted the audience with an interesting speech, in which she mischievously passed on some of her inside knowledge of leading politicians and the running of the current election campaign.  George Henderson OBE, called on all present to support the Pensioners Manifesto of the National Pensioners Convention and urged delegates to challenge all candidates in the election on the issues contained in the manifesto. The gathering stimulated some spirited discussion on the issues affecting older people and many of the delegates left the conference resolved to make campaigning politicians aware of their views.