Pensioners from across Britain descended on parliament today to fight back against plans to scrap universal benefits they receive.
Around 200 people joined the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) demonstration and lobby at Westminster, responding to growing calls to means-test benefits like free bus passes, winter fuel allowance and free TV licenses.
Critics say the benefits are costing tax-payers too much, especially young people in work, but NPC leader Dot Gibson hit back at what she labelled "divide and rule tactics.
"The real division in society is between rich and poor not young and old" Ms Gibson told the Star.
"In the pensioners movement we have memories of 1930s unemployment and poverty, the killing fields of the second world war and then the introduction of the welfare state and the NHS in 1945. That's all being undermined today."
The NPC say pensioners with incomes of anything above £10,500 could be hit if means-tested benefits were introduced.
And Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins said the country faced a choice between "American barbarism or Scandinavian social care.
"If we want to raise income to bring down the deficit we shouldn't means-test pensioners, we should raise taxes and everyone, including wealthy pensioners, will contribute more in tax," he said.
But in a lively lobby meeting pensioners dished out stinging criticism of Labour for failing to guarantee free bus passes, among other things, if it forms the next government.
David Crausby MP, whose early day motion defending universal benefits for pensioners has attracted the support of 25 other MPs, reminded the meeting bus passes were introduced by the last Labour government.
June Clarkeson from Portsmouth told the Star: "If pensioners had to pay for bus journeys some people would only go out once a week."
And Norman Jeminson from Newcastle said winter fuel allowance is "crucial because energy costs are going up again. Pensioners I know are left with the choice of heating their homes or eating, they can't afford to do both."
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