It is shameful that Britain’s state pensioners, 2 million of whom still live in poverty, are effectively penalised for having savings or private pensions. Meanwhile, grandparents who provide childcare worth £3.9 billion a year, many spending three days a week caring for grandchildren, receive no recognition for their contribution to society. To make matters worse, over-complicated, intimidating, and humiliating means testing is so off-putting that pensioners are leaving up to £2.9 billion of council tax benefits unclaimed. The other parties have made a few token gestures to older people, but the Green Party alone is committed to making Britain a better place to age in.
The Green Party’s pledge for Older People:
– To end the over complex pension credit system and ensure a decent basic pension for everyone of £170 a week which would be linked to national earnings.
– Free insulation to help fight fuel poverty.
– Free personal and nursing care for all older people.
– Freedom for older people to work.
The figure of £170 per week is calculated as the minimum required to keep the basic state pension above the official poverty line, according to the National Pensioners’ Convention, in its Pensioners’ Manifesto, which calls for a range of measures to improve conditions for older people.
The three Manchester parliamentary candidates: Gayle O’Donovan, (Central), Justine Hall (Gorton) and Brian Candeland (Withington) support the pledge.
Gayle O’Donovan said “After a lifetime of hard work and contributing to society, pensioners deserve better than having to scrape by on an inadequate state pension. It’s only fair that the basic state pension should be enough to live on.”
Justine Hall said “As a young person I value the experience and wisdom of older people. We should end the default retirement age, so that people would have the freedom to go on working and contributing to society if they wished to, free from discrimination on the basis of age”.
Brian Candeland added “The costs of personal and nursing care are something which many people worry about as they approach the later stages of their lives. Scotland already provides free social care for all who need it, we should have the same provision in England.”
The Greens have spelled out how the £170 basic state pension would be funded :
There are roughly 12 million pensioners living in the UK and a further 1 million living abroad. Paying a single rate of £170 per week, and a couples rate of £300 per week, will cost £110bn per year. The current basic state pension, plus certain other specific pensioner benefits like Pensions Credits paid to those of pension age (which would become redundant if the basic pension rate was raised to the level we propose) costs £70bn. For the remaining £40 billion, the Green Party would abolish tax relief on pension contributions (£20 billion), and the national insurance rebate on employer and employee contributions to private pension schemes (£19 billion). The final £1 billion would come from increased income tax receipts from pensioners.