Pensioners are calling for £62 a week rise in the State Pension as part of a “grey manifesto” ahead of the 2015 general election, the Morning Star has reported.
The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) will tomorrow (17 June 2014) call for the state pension to increase from £113 a week to £175, in a bid to help lift older people out of poverty.
1 in 6 pensioners in the UK are currently living below the poverty line, according to Age UK, despite the introduction of the coalition government’s ‘triple lock guarantee’, which guarantees an annual rise in the basic state pension in-line with earnings, prices or 2.5% – whichever is higher.
According to Age UK, pensioners are ‘the biggest group of people on the brink of poverty with 1.2 million on the edge’.
Within this group, women of Pakistani or Bangladeshi heritage are most likely to slip below the poverty line, currently defined as 60% of median income after housing costs.
Age UK say that rising food and fuel prices are a ‘huge source of anxiety’ among older people, despite the Tory-led coalition government increasing Cold Weather Payments to £25 a week and pledging to protect pension-linked benefits, such as free prescriptions, bus passes, eye-tests and TV licences for the over 75’s.
Despite the government’s promise to protect pensioner benefits, the NPC are also drawing up proposals for a consultation with its members which will call for an end to means-testing within the older persons benefits system.
NPC general secretary Dot Gibson told the Morning Star:
“It will be important that we send a clear message to all the political parties this week, that we have campaigned over many years to secure benefits such as the free bus pass and we will not give them away lightly.”
Dot Gibson urged pensioners to only vote for general election candidates who support the NPC’s demands.