Local MP Norman Baker has welcomed the new single tier pension announced this week as "a fairer pension for all" and "a much needed improvement our pension system".
Norman's comments come in response to the announcement made this week by the Lib Dem Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, who has outlined reforms to the state pension for everyone retiring after 2017 that will provide a one-tier pension which will be the equivalent of £144 per week. The current state pension is £107.45. The reforms also mean, for the first time, that men and women will be treated equally, the self-employed will be included fully for the first time and the recipient will no longer lose out if they decide to bring up a child or become a carer.
This reform follows on from the Lib Dem triple lock guarantee for current pensioners which was a manifesto commitment and was included within the Coalition Agreement. The triple lock means that the full state pension, by April, will be £650 more than when Labour was in power. This means the basic state pension is now at its highest share of average earnings since 1992.
Norman says: "With the state pension, pension credits and the second state pension, the state pension system has become very complicated. Indeed, I have been contacted by concerned pensioners who have just found the pension credit application form so daunting they have considered not applying. That is simply not acceptable and the state pension needs to be reformed and simplified.
"A single rate state pension lets everyone know where they stand, whether or not they have taken time out of work to care for a child or a loved one, or whether they are a man or a woman. The new flat rate removes the laborious means-testing so favoured by the last government and will provide a pension guarantee which is above the current means-testing level and which is simple, fair and more decent."
Contact Norman at:
23 East Street,
Tel: (01273) 480281.
Fax: (01273) 480287.