Further to a meeting with Eddie Lynch, Chief Executive of Age Sector Platform, Ms Ritchie said: “I am delighted to endorse the Pensioners’ Parliament Manifesto.
“I have worked very closely with Age Sector Platform previously and the Manifesto clearly outlines areas which matter to older people.[caption id="attachment_60674" align="alignleft" width="270"] South Down MP Margaret Ritchie with Eddie Lynch, Chief Executive Age Sector Platform.[/caption]
“This includes the protection of the smartpass and free prescriptions to those over the age of sixty; a reduction in operation waiting times and the delivery of care packages; and robust legislation to tackle age discrimination.
“As Member of Parliament for South Down I will continue to ensure the needs and views of older people are protected in every level of Government and will be working hard to deliver, assist and protect the very important issues laid out in the manifesto.
“I will also be making urgent representations to the Minister for Works and Pensions on the issue of the ‘Forgotten 14’s’. Many pensioners have worked in Northern Ireland from the age of 14 and paid National Insurance from this age.
“They, however, do not have entitlement to a full pension and cannot avail of pension credit. Advice from the Law Centre NI has suggested a change in interpretation of existing legislation would ensure contributions before the age of 16 could be used towards pension entitlement.
“It is crucial, for the financial benefit and social well being of the elderly, that this change in interpretation of legislation is carried out as a matter of urgency.”
You can read more about the Pensioners Parliament in Northern Ireland and download the MANIFESTO at: