PARLIAMENT returns next week after the recess. By the time you read this Gordon Brown may have called a general election and Parliament will be suspended until the election is over.

Whether there is an election or not, the issues people face in their daily lives will continue on and the real world will eventually intrude into the political bubble that surrounds Westminster.

One of the most important issues facing our community and one of the issues I want to focus on in the next session of Parliament is the treatment of elderly people in our country.

Over the years since I was elected in 1997 I have hosted monthly meetings in Parliament on behalf of the Greater London Pensioners' Association.

At these meetings we have planned our campaigns to improve the living standards and quality of life for older people. We have linked up with the National Pensioners Convention and various other organisations representing older people.

Our campaigns have concentrated on increasing the basic pension, restoring the link between pensions and earnings, saving and extending the pensioners travel card and tackling age discrimination.

It has been a hard slog but we have had some victories. We have fought off successfully a series of threats to cut the pensioners' free travel card, gained new anti-discrimination legislation and, at long last, we have secured a commitment to restore the link between pensions and earnings.

However, the restoration of the link has been delayed until 2010 at the earliest so we are back on the campaign trail to demand the immediate implementation of the link restoration.

With two million pensioners still living in poverty, people can't wait for another three years. Many literally can't wait because it is estimated up to one third of our pensioners will not live to see this benefit.

The next issue for older people which I aim to concentrate on in the new session of Parliament is the care of our elderly. I am extremely concerned at the standards of care for the elderly in their homes and in residential care.

There have been some shocking examples of elderly people being isolated, neglected and even abused in both their own homes through lack of care or by appallingly low standards of care in residential homes. I am particularly concerned about the availability and standards of care for older people suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's and the lack of support for their families.

In July a Parliamentary Committee of MPs reported its worries about the treatment of the elderly in our community and the abuse of their human rights.

Local councillor Anthony Way has raised this issue in a recent meeting of the local council. I have written to both the director of Hillingdon's social services department and the Government's national Social Care Commission to seek an independent review of the standards of care for the elderly in our local area.

I am hearing too many stories where families have not been happy about the care their parents and grandparents have received. My priority in this coming period will be to press the local council and the Government to ensure that our older people gain the high standard of care they need and deserve.