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Tom Brake Discusses Pension Reform

October 25, 2006 6:06 PM

Tom Brake, Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington, today met with a representative of the National Pensioners Convention to discuss the alternatives to the recent Government White Paper on pension reform.

Tom, like many other MPs has signed Early Day Motion 2582 requesting that payment of pensions be increased to at least £114.05 a week, that the amount paid be restored to reflect earnings, and that all pensioners should be paid equally whether man or woman.

• £114.05 is the Guarantee Credit level suggested by nearly all Pension Reform bodies, indeed including the Government's own Turner Review. A Basic State Pension of £114.05/week would give pensioners an acceptable minimum level of income.

• Many elderly people today are eligible for Pensions credit, but do not apply for it because of the embarrassing and complicated procedure of means-based testing. The restoration of earnings-reflected-pensions would rectify this problem, and extend help to a greater percentage of the population

• In May 2006, the number of years of National Insurance Contributions required to receive a full state pension stood at 44 years for men and 39 years for women, an unjust difference of five years.

Tom Brake commented, 'These complex and illogical stipulations are typical of the Pensions system today, and they require reform. Although the Government White Paper was a step in the right direction, it was a luke-warm effort and did not go far enough. Elderly in care homes are only given around £20 for luxuries such as toiletries and gifts; pensioners are expected to live on about £80 a week. At a time when life expectancies are heading up, we should be ensuring that the elderly are living better, fuller lives as well as long ones.'

'The Government has continued to duck the issue of public sector pension reform. The Liberal Democrats propose an independent commission to look at the issue of public sector pensions reform to ensure that we can create a fair, affordable and sustainable public sector pensions system.'

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