DEBATES about national identity cards, dental treatment and gambling featured prominently at the Co-operative Women's Guild Annual Congress.
The Guild were broadly in favour of national identity cards, but were concerned over the timetable on the introduction of the cards saying they should be with us now, especially with problems of terrorism.
Delegates at the Skegness event also questioned the possible costs of the cards and asked the Government to reveal how much they will be and who, if anyone, will be exempt from payment.
Members voted overwhelmingly against plans to expand the number of casinos operating in the UK and told the Government to abandon its Gambling Bill.
Under the health debate, the Guild called on the Government to provide free dental inspections for pensioners. It also said the NHS should ensure patient aftercare is provided for those who have been discharged from hospital.
Gender discrimination in the workplace should also be abolished by closing the pay gap between men and women, the Congress decided. The Guild also asked the Government to resolve the question of decent pensions for women.
New General Secretary Claire Morgan was installed at the meeting. President Christine Hay told delegates: "She is a breath of fresh air and has some good ideas for our Guild."
Former General Secretary, Sue Bell, was presented with a hand painted clock and a cheque for £ 1,077 as her retirement gifts from the Guild.
At the Congress, President Ms Hay revealed a new website for the organisation will be launched in September – and asked members and associates for any suggestions on what to put on the site.
The Bedhampton and Runcorn branches were congratulated for increasing membership. Dorothy Ridley, Bedhampton's secretary, hosted speakers and held monthly competitions to keep an active interest.
Each year the Guild chooses a charity to support, and during last year the Mercy Ships UK Project received £ 3,537. The charity for this year is the Osteoporosis Society.
United Co-operatives donated £ 2,000 to the Guild to assist the organisation moving head office.
The Women's Guild Congress will be next held at the Prince Regent Hotel, Weymouth, on 9th-10th May 2006.