This week ITV News is gauging the opinions of people across the UK ahead of June's General Election to find out "What Matters" to them. In this edition, we travelled to Eastbourne, to speak to pensioners there about their views and concerns as the campaign gets underway.
- By ITV News correspondent Geraint Vincent
Just yards from the manicured greens of the Parade Bowls Club in Eastbourne, there’s a solid reminder of the United Kingdom’s long and occasionally troubled relationship with Europe.
The canon placements around the fort built to see off a Napoleonic invasion which never came now stand watch over a group of pensioners, practising for the first match of the new season.
And Europe is the issue which comes most quickly to their minds when asked about their biggest concerns going into the 2017 general election.
As there was in the referendum vote here, there is a clear division of views on whether leaving European Union is a wise decision. But now that decision has been made, there is a new unanimity among the club members - and that is based on a desire to get on and make the deal.
“We need to stop shilly-shallying around,” says one.
There are other issues of course. The future and security of pension payments was mentioned by everybody here. Solemn promises about triple-locks have been taken with a pinch of salt.
Social services for the elderly in Eastbourne have been cut back in the age of austerity, and everyone seems prepared to find out that their pension may not be as they thought it was as more savings in the public purse need to be made.
There are worries too about the health service, and the provision of social care, and how much the state will be able to do should the worst come to the worst.
And amongst people whose incomes are solidly fixed, what is a now “very noticeable” rise in the price of a basket of food is also a growing source of anxiety.
But Brexit was the over-riding issue amongst the pensioners I spoke to in Eastbourne. They are looking for a leader with a plan.
They are a group of voters who grew up in a time when making the best of things was the only option.
Today’s political leaders will need to convince them that they can do the same.