Friday, 23 March 2012

Budget leaves pensioners bruised on pensions, tax allowances, retirement age and care

Press Release For immediate use: 21 March 2012
 Budget leaves pensioners bruised on pensions, tax allowances, retirement age and care

 Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) has criticised today’s Budget announcement for failing to address the serious concerns of Britain’s 11m older people. On the state pension Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “The proposal to merge the basic and second state pensions into a single £140 a week payment is a classic case of smoke and mirrors – given that someone could retire today and get a combined basic and second state pension of £150 a week. In reality there will be no extra money to raise Britain’s scandalously low state pension – just a different way of packaging the payment. Not only that but it will also create a two-tier pension system with existing pensioners still having to struggle with a complicated means-tested system that leaves one in four older people in poverty.”

 On the retirement age Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “The announcement of an automatic review of the state pension age is clearly a forerunner to making people work up to 70 and beyond. The chancellor is effectively stealing retirement years from millions of ordinary workers whose life expectancy is far lower than the very richest in society. This will hurt the low paid, part time workers in the north much more than the bankers in the city.”

 On personal tax allowances Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “The decision to freeze the age related personal tax allowances effectively means around five million pensioner tax payers will no longer get additional reductions in their tax over the coming years – whilst those on the top rate of tax will see their bills reduced. Many older people will feel they are being asked to forego their reduction in tax to help out the super rich. There’s no fairness in that.”

 Welfare and social care Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “The Chancellor’s pledge to cut welfare payments by £10bn over the next few years will also worry millions of pensioners who may think their bus passes and winter fuel allowances might be under threat and the long-awaited social care white paper is being delayed, without any explanation, while around a million older people are struggling with a broken care system that leaves many with expensive care that is often of a poor quality. The money the chancellor is giving away in tax breaks for the richest in society would fund a National Care Service for all those in need. Pensioners will feel bruised by this Budget.”

 For more information contact Neil Duncan-Jordan 07432-575251

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