Press release announcing ‘Strippers’ demo in Manchester

by Dr. Ros Altmann

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GOVERNMENT UNDERMINES PARLIAMENT
GORDON BROWN PROMISES NEW CONSTITUTION, HE IS NOT EVEN UPHOLDING THE OLD ONE!
A press invitation to a planned demonstration against Labour’s undermining of Parliament at the Labour Party Conference,
in Manchester, on Wednesday 27th September

Millions of voters will be represented at a demonstration on Wednesday,  against this Government’s refusal to recognize the UK’s constitutional safeguards and its brazen undermining of Parliament.  Victims of the Government’s failed pensions policies are yet again having to ‘strip off’ outside the Labour Party Conference.  For the 4th year in a row, pensioners from the Pensions Action Group will be traveling from all over the UK to highlight this government’s callous disregard for their plight.

First, this Government has unprecedentedly ignored the findings of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, Ann Abraham, who found Government was responsible for this scandal.  She found it guilty of maladministration by misleading members about the safety of their pensions and then weakening the funding standards governing their schemes.  The Treasury and Cabinet Office guidelines clearly state that the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s verdict on maladministration is ‘final’ and yet this Government and this Treasury have refused to accept her findings. 

The ‘Stripppers’, who diligently contributed for 30 or more years, believed government assurances and ‘guarantees’ that their pensions would be safe, but then found that they were blatantly misled.  Their final salary pension schemes have wound up, but the rules governing funding and wind-up – rules decided by Government – have taken away their pensions.

Second, Ministers have ignored the Public Administration Select Committee whose report also calls for the Government to uphold the Parliamentary Ombudsman’s findings and organize a proper compensation scheme.  How can we believe that any Labour administration in future would actually uphold new constitutional procedures, if they have blatantly flouted our existing ones!

The demonstrators will assemble at 13:00, at Duke Street Dock at the Castlefields site on Wednesday 27th September. This is just off Liverpool Road close to the Museum for Science and Industry. They will leave via Rice Street at around 13:30 and march to the GMEX where they will Strip off in another ‘Stripped of our Pensions’ protest. Press photographers and journalist will have plenty of photo opportunities, and the rally will be addressed by Labour MPs who also support the calls for compensation.  

At 2.30pm there will be a press meeting, at Friends' Meeting House, 6 Mount Street, City Centre, Manchester, M2 5NS, which is just round the corner from GMEX.  The meeting will be hosted by the Pensions Action Group and Saga, who are supporting this campaign on behalf of their 4 million customers.  Saga already have thousands of signatures on an on-line petition calling for compensation.   The press conference will also include some Labour MPs – including Alan Simpson who has called for full compensation and is also running a petition on behalf of those affected by the wind-up of their scheme.

As MPs gather for this Labour Party Conference, it is important that the country understands this Government has been flouting our constitutional safeguards and is responsible for the biggest pensions injustice this country has ever seen.


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