Monday, 6 April 2009

Green Party pledges £165-a-week state pension

The Green Party has marked Pensions Action Day by announcing its plan to increase the basic state pension to £165 a week.

The pledge is possibly the best action a political party could take for British pensioners: a policy that would lift all our pensioners out of poverty.

The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) has been calling for a pension at or above the official poverty level, which is defined as 60% of median population earnings less housing costs.

For 2007/8 this would have meant a single person’s pension of £151 per week - compared to the actual full state pension of £90.70 and a pensions credits guarantee level of about £120 a week.

According to the NPC, the number of people living in severe poverty – defined as living on less than 40% of median population income – has increased by 600,000 since Labour came to power in 1997.

Pensioner poverty in the UK has risen in the last year by 300,000 - equivalent to 822 people a day - and now reaches 2.5m (1 in 4 older people). Two thirds of these pensioners are women.

As Jean Lambert, London Green Party MEP and the party's spokeperson on Social Affairs:

"If the other parties are unwilling to lift pensioners out of poverty, then it's clear pensioners will need to elect Greens to fight their corner.

"Voting Green is about building a better future - and that includes a secure economic future for older people."

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