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Labour Is Making It Clear That We Are The Party For Pensioners

13/04/2017 09:03 BST | Updated 13/04/2017 09:03 BST
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With our new Pensioners Pledge Card, Labour is making it clear that we are the party for pensioners. Labour is showing that we are not just the party of working people but also the party of the retired in Britain.

I've grown tired of the Conservatives failure and neglect. With pensioner poverty rising and the Conservative government failing to take action, it is clear that the Tories are both complacent and uncaring.

Age UK found in 2016 that one in seven pensioners in Britain live in poverty, while a further 1.2million pensioners are barely above the poverty line.

As a pensioner from South Cornwall, I had to wait until 62 to receive the pension I'd been promised at 60. I struggle to make ends meet at times, especially during recent treatment for cancer. Young friends are in despair that they will ever be able to afford to stop working in their old age.

John McDonnell has made it clear that Labour will seek to alleviate the damage created by the changes to the women's state pension age which is due to rise to 66 by 2020, by extending Pension Credit to those most affected by the reforms.

This national scandal is rooted in the same economic problems which the Labour Party is determined to tackle - low pay during people's working lives, insecure work and periodic unemployment. This is a situation which deserves to be tackled in its own right.

For instance, since my 20s, I worked in the voluntary and community sector supporting some of the most vulnerable members of society. But workers, like myself, in this sector largely face poor pension provision, short term contracts and low pay. All of these have contributed to hardship in my senior years. People like me, who have typically worked all of their lives, are finding themselves let down rather than rewarded by a government which claims to respect us and reward hard work.

This week the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, pledged that 'Labour is not only promising to stand up for pensioners, but is determined to ensure they keep the hard-won entitlements they currently hold.

With policies that are straight-forward, practical and unequivocal McDonnell has shown that Labour are paying more than just lip-service to the need for a secure pension system.

Under Labour, the triple lock will be retained until 2025 meaning pensions will continue to rise in line with Inflation, wages or at a rate of 2.5% per year - whichever is higher.

The Tory Chancellor, Philip Hammond has only promised to keep the triple lock in place until 2020, whereas Labour are promising to retain the triple lock until 2025. We can see that the Conservatives are only prepared to think in the short term and are not willing to provide any certainty over the future of the pensions system.

According to the House of Commons library, pensioners will be at least £652.50 better off a year if the triple lock is retained and this policy is already funded within the current budget. This reaffirms the fact that the Conservatives are creating needless uncertainty.

Labour are also pledging to keep the universal winter fuel allowance, maintain the policy of free bus passes and protect the pensions of those living abroad.

Labour are making it crystal clear that only we are prepared to stand up for pensioners throughout the next parliament. This is in stark contrast to the Conservative's multiple failures over pensions ranging from the rising retirement age to their weaker commitment to the triple lock.

The Tories are continuing their tradition of trying to cling to power by offering ordinary people as little as possible, while giving tax breaks to multinational corporations and those at the top. Labour are instead offering real solutions to the problems facing our country, with a programme to build a fair and sustainable society in which we all can share.