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International & National Principles, Rights and Responsibilities of Older Persons

National Statements - Charter of Rights to Community Care for Older People in the United Kingdom


The following Declaration of Intent was adopted by the British National Pensioners Convention in 1991 and has served as a rallying point ever since. For further information, contact:

The Pensioners' Centre
47-51 Chalton Street
United Kingdom
Tel: 020 7388 0907

This Convention declares that every pensioner has the right to choice, dignity, independence and security as an integral and valued member of society.

These rights require an adequate State Retirement Pension. Although we seek concessions we adhere to this central aim, an adequate pension to enable pensioners to pay their way.

There must be an immediate commitment to a pension level of not less than one half of average gross earnings for a married couple and not less than one third of average gross earnings for a single person, to be uprated at six-monthly intervals by the increase in gross average earnings or the increase in the cost of living, whichever is the greater. There should be an additional flat-rate pension, non-means tested for those over 75 years of age, and a further payment at the age of 80, to be increased annually in line with the RPI or average earnings, whichever is the greater. Other benefit levels should be adjusted accordingly. Further, as soon as possible, all elderly people should receive the full basic pension, regardless of sex or marital status.

In addition to an adequate income a pensioner should, as of right:

  • live in accommodation which is appropriate to personal need and circumstances with reasonable degree of choice including sheltered housing;

  • be able to call on the full range of free community and personal social services to give full support as need arises, for example, home care, including domestic help, meals on wheels, chiropody, television and telephone;

  • in view of the wide disparity in the availability and types of existing travel concessions throughout the country, have access to a National Scheme which should be introduced involving a levelling up of existing schemes to the level of the best schemes in operation;

  • have ready access to comprehensive free health care on demand;

  • be able to maintain a warm and well lit home with additional heating payments for all pensioners households from October to March each year;

  • have full access to a varied and extensive range of education and leisure facilities;

  • be paid a tax-free Christmas bonus restored to its 1972 purchasing power and adjusted annually in line with inflation;
    be eligible for an adequate retirement pension on ceasing work at any time of his of her choice after the age of 60 years;

  • be entitled to an adequate death grant irrespective of age;
    be relieved of standing charges on gas, telephones, electricity and water;

  • have a right to be consulted by central and local government and public utilities over plans which might affect their lives.