Southend Standard Column

Since George Osborne presented the budget to Parliament, one of the issues that has been raised is the impact that the budget will have on pensioners. I have dedicated this fortnightly column to address the concerns that have been raised with me and outlined the Government’s commitment to pensioners.

The government have announced the biggest ever rise in the state pension as a result of the triple lock, as well as protecting key pensioner benefits such as Winter Fuel Payments, free prescriptions and eye tests, free bus travel and free TV licences for older pensioners.

Even after the change, half of those over 65 will not pay tax in 2013/14. Over 5 million of the poorest pensioners are unaffected. Those affected by the change will still benefit from the largest increase in personal allowance in both cash and real terms for the last thirty years.

Reforming the State Pension system for future pensioners so that it provides a simple, contributory, flat-rate support above the means-tested Guarantee Credit. This new rate is currently estimated at £140 a week.

Largest rise in the state pension ever. In April 2012 the state pension will rise by £5.30 per week. That’s £275 per year – the biggest cash rise ever.

Restored the earnings link to pensions. We have reintroduced the earnings link for pensions and under the Conservative Triple Lock, the State Pension will always be increased, year on year, in-line with average earnings, prices or by 2.5% – whichever is highest. This has brought an end to the paltry rises to the state pension seen under Labour – which one year gave pensioners just 75p.

If anyone has any other concerns or issues then I urge residents to get in touch with me directly