Hotham Road meets 10 Downing Street

Putney pensioner Laurie Green was invited to 10 Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister and his colleagues Alistar Darling MP and Ann Caffey MP for discussions on the needs of pensioners and the Governments plans to help.

Laurie has been an active officer of the Putney & Roehampton Organisation of Pensioners (P.R.O.P.) for the last twenty years and is now the Secretary.

The meeting on 7th November lasted 2 hours and 33 pensioners were present from all over the UK, as well as Rodney Bickerstaff, Baroness Sally Greengross of "Age Concern", Jack Jones the hugely popular pensioners spokesman, and other leading members of the National Pensioners Convention.

Mr Blair said that the Government had three aims in relation to pensioners:

1. that they should share in the rising prosperity of the country which now has a stronger economy
2. that this prosperity should not be imperiled, but the poorest should certainly be helped
3. that the government should act with a long term view.

Most of the pensioners present spoke of the need to restore the link between State Pension and average earnings broken in 1980 by Mrs Thatcher. It was also said that very few of the poorest pensioners had applied for the Minimum Income Guarantee, despite publicity for it, because they were desperately afraid of admitting poverty, and they remembered the indignity of the Means Test of the 1930's.

Laurie said that he had been at a Putney Pensioners meeting the previous day where 39 old people had given him their views to convey to Mr Blair. A large majority preferred a sizeable increase in the basic pension and a restoring of the link with earnings. But above all said Laurie they wanted their dignity and independence. He also told Mr Blair of the wry saying of local pensioners - " Don't grow old in Wandsworth - you'll live to regret it!" The meeting was briefly shown on BBC 1 and Channel 4 news and Laurie could be seen for roughly 3 seconds!

On the same day a huge petition for better State Pensions was delivered to Buckingham Palace by Tony Blair's father in law Tony Booth and many MPs were lobbied. Laurie said he was proud to speak for pensioners. This month Jeff Rooker comes to P.R.O.P. to discuss pensioners' problems and Laurie will also be giving a talk to Putney Labour Party. He says "It keeps me going - I'm 76, and I believe passionately in Justice for Pensioners."

Laurie is a retired Junior School Head Teacher and he moved into Hotham Road in 1966 with his wife Jean. They brought up two daughters there and they have certainly seen many changes over the past four decades. He has written books on education: School Reports & other information for parents - Home & School Council Publication Parents & teachers - Partners or Rivals - George Allen & Unwin The above was also translated into Italian Many articles in "Where "magazine on teacher parent co-operation

P.R.O.P. is a non-party political body, campaigning for justice & dignity for the elderly. They meet on the the first and third Monday of every month excepting December when it is only the first Monday. In addition to these meeting they hold a programme of seminars - for details click here. Enquiries on membership can be made on 020 785 6722.