Government Plans will do Little to Reduce Pensioner Poverty in Wales

April 18, 2007 11:06 AM

Today, as the House of Commons votes on the 3rd Reading of the Pensions Bill, the Welsh Liberal Democrats released figures showing the impact the Government's pensions plans will have on Pensioners in Wales.

They pointed to the fact that:

• Almost 100,000 pensioners across Wales missed out on an average £1,425 pension credits entitlements last year, a total of £142m.

• The DWP has stated that pension credit take-up is unlikely to increase further so by 2031, nearly 140,000 pensioners across Wales will be missing out on the money they are due under pension credit.

• 168,000 pensioners in Wales will die before the earnings link is restored in 2012.

• Today is the best opportunity so far to force through a fair compensation package for ASW workers and others affected by the occupational pensions saga.

Commenting, Jenny Willott MP and Member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee said:

"These shocking figures show the extent to which the Gordon Brown's means tested pension credit system is failing, and will continue to fail, Welsh pensioners.

"Tens of thousands of elderly people on low incomes in Wales are suffering unnecessary hardship because the benefits designed to help them aren't getting through. And the numbers living in poverty in retirement will only increase in the future.

"What's more, 168,000 Welsh pensioners will die before the link between earnings and pensions is restored in 2012. This is simply not good enough.

"The Government is also leaving tens of thousands of female pensioners in Wales receiving a measly pension by refusing to base the state pension on years of residency in the UK.

"We have always advocated setting a universal state pension for all set at a level where no pensioner would live in poverty. Unfortunately, Gordon Brown has rejected this simplified and just system in favour of a far more complex one that is likely to see pensioner poverty in Wales increase in the future.

Commenting on the Amendments down affecting ASW workers and others affected by the Occupational Pensions Saga, Jenny said:

"Under the current settlement, most ASW workers can expect to get just 65% of the pension they saved for. This is still far from acceptable.

"If the only way the Government will accept its faults of the past and see justice done for all those still suffering today is by dragging it, kicking and screaming towards a proper package of compensation, then so be it.

"This week, MPs have their best opportunity to date to end this long-running sordid saga. ASW workers and the many others who lost their pensions will not forgive MPs who do not back a fair compensation package.

"I hope that MPs of all parties will back the amendments which will guarantee that those who lost their occupational pensions receive fair compensation at the same level as the Pension Protection Fund."

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