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Fair deal for older people

October 21, 2004 12:00 AM

At the recent Liberal Democrat conference in Bournemouth there were several very good policy announcements for older people.

The main driver behind these policies was to ask the simple question, is it fair ? So :-

  • Is it fair that pensioners' incomes are tied to inflation and not the wealth of the nation they built?
  • Is it fair that pensioners should have to go through demeaning means testing just to get a basic level of income ?
  • Is it fair that if women choose to support a family in earlier life they should have a lower pension in old age because of limited contributions ?
  • Is it fair that workers who save all their working life can loose their pension at the last moment because the company is wound up ?
  • Is it fair that bus tokens are limited and only half fare ?
  • Is it fair that council tax is not linked to pensioners' incomes ?
  • Is it fair that older people are forced to retire even when they do not wish to ?
  • Is it fair that old people are forced to sell homes and spend their savings before the NHS pays for long-term personal care ?

The answer to all these questions and many similar questions is it's not fair and so policies were put forward that solve all of the above questions and more. In brief Liberal Democrats would :-

  • Re-link pensions with earnings.
  • Increase the state pension to the Guarantee credit level, first for over 75's then for all pensioners.
  • Make the state pension an entitlement as a citizen based on residency, not national insurance contributions.
  • Have a proper Government backed compensation scheme to underwrite company schemes.
  • Extend the travel token scheme to provide free off-peak local travel for pensioners and disabled people.
  • Axe the Tax - replace it with a local income tax based on the ability to pay - my parents checked out the Axe the Tax Calculator and were £800 better off.
  • Abolish charging for long-term personal care across the whole country as the Liberal Democrats already have in Scotland.

This is only a very brief summary of three debates on 'A Fair Deal for Older People', 'Dignity and Security in Retirement', 'Meeting the Third Age Challenge'. To find out more, ask me I can supply more information. Alternatively visit the national Liberal Democrat website.