Guests at the annual lunch in aid of Caravan helped to raise a record £100,000 for the trade's welfare charity. But at the same time, they heard a stark warning from the charity's president that poverty in old age was set to get worse in coming years.
Gavin Neath, chairman of Unilever Bestfoods, said fundraising efforts this year put Caravan on course to hit its target. "Every year we have to raise over £1.5m to fulfil our obligations to some 1,500 people from our industry suffering hardship in old age," he said. "It is clear to most observers that this problem of hardship and poverty in old age will get worse in the years to come."
He added: "As the government vacillates about what it wants to do about occupational pensions, and as greedy finance directors take short-term decisions about their companies' pension schemes, we will find in 20 years' time that more and more people are living out the last years of their lives in financial difficulties."
Neath concluded: "Many of these people will be former colleagues. Caravan supports in a very real and practical fashion people who used to work with us and for us. In that sense it is deserving of both our individual and our companies' support."
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