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Monday, December 17, 2007

Nostalgia is not what it used to be

Figures produced by the Liberal Democrats have shown that pensioners now receive less money than they did in 1950.

The figures demonstrate that pensions in 2007 are the equivalent of only 15.9% of the average wage, compared to 18.4% in 1950. That means that we have gone backwards in the way we support people who have already given a lifetime of work to our society.

These figures are a disgrace. We have had a Labour government for ten years, and yet Welsh pensioners are comparatively getting even less than they were under Attlee, at a time when the British economy was still recovering from a cataclysmic war.

With the convoluted Pension Credit failing to reach many pensioners, in my view the Government should immediately restore the link between pensions and earnings as a first step towards providing a decent state pension.

The fact that the last benefits uprating meant that there were over 250 benefit levels to increase is reflective of a system that is far too complicated. The obsession with bureaucracy has made our benefits system a nightmare for those who truly need help. Genuine concerns about data security risk undermining benefit take up even further.

Rather than continually adding further layers of complexity to the system, ministers should undertake radical reform and introduce a Single Working Age Benefit.
I agree wholeheartedly with you about paying pensioners a living income but wonder how we'd pay for it?
The difference between now and 1950 is that most people didn't live long after retiring. So the good news is that we're all living longer, the bad news is that we're living in more relative poverty.
Without increasing taxes for those that can afford it, I can't see a way round this one.
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