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Independent Green Voice

SUPPORT OUR PENSIONERS

We support measures to increase the money pensioners receive by linking pensions to average earnings. The link between pensions and earnings was removed in 1980. Pensioners groups have long campaigned to restore the link and to raise the pension to the level it would be at, if the link had not been broken.

Additionally, we will work to abolish age discrimination and encourage employers to appreciate the skills and experiences of older people.

Independent Green Voice endorses the recommendations of the National Pensioners Convention:

THE 10-POINT PLAN OF
THE NATIONAL PENSIONER'S CONVENTION

1. An immediate increase in the basic state pension to the level of the Pensions Credit.
2. The restoration of the link between the basic state pension and average earnings.
3. The maintenance and strengthening of the national insurance fund as the basis for providing financial security in retirement.
4. A £22 weekly age addition for the over 75s.
5. All nursing and personal care to be provided free at the point of delivery, whether in hospital, nursing homes or one's own home.
6. Comprehensive health care, provided free at the point of need, including community care.
7. Free TV licences, free travel on public transport and a £200 winter fuel allowance for all pensioners.
8. The removal of standing charges on gas, electricity, water and telephone.
9. Legislation to end age discrimination in all areas of society.
10. Pensioners and their representatives to be involved in every level of policy-making and development that affects the lives of older people.

MORE POLICIES FOR PENSIONERS
  • Abolish VAT on the electricity and gas bills of pensioners. VAT is an EU tax and it is another example of the EU's negative impact on the UK
  • Abolish means-testing on extra benefits to pensioners, which punishes those who save for their retirement.
  • No extension of the minimum public service retirement age, whether to 65 or beyond.
  • Just as there should be no extension of the retirement age, so there should be no compulsory retirement for those who want to continue to work. As has been demonstrated here any economic challenges faced by demographic change can be offset by advantaging those older British citizens who want to return to paid employment. If by 2021 we have been able to encourage between one-in-ten and one-in-seven otherwise unpaid 50-69 year olds in the UK to take paid employment, then we can more than pay for the costs of demographic change. It's not necessary to import people from all over the world!
  • Roll out energy-efficiency programmes to ensure local councils have a statutory duty to ensure high insulation standards in all homes.
  • Assistance for those who choose to look after their elderly relatives at home.
  • Abolish Inheritance Tax.
  • Encourage a study into the feasibility of a Citizen's Income which would be given to all British citizens as of right, which would replace many of the existing benefits, and potentially simplify the welfare system.

Importantly, we need to...

Prohibit Government Pension Funds from Playing on the Stock Market.
Public pension funds should not be subject to the volatility and fluctuations of the stock markets where only a small amount of business is related to raising money -- which happens when new companies are put on the stock market -- and where the majority of business is speculation.

Establish a National Savings and Investment Pensions Fund.
This will fund pensions through the proceeds of local investment. It has been called a "People's Pension Fund" and it links pensions with local investment in public services.

Money paid via National Insurance payments will be ring-fenced and invested in national assets such as building infrastructure, and not on the stock market. This will boost the economy and help to generate economic activity, which will in turn generate money to pay the pensions in the future. This productive money is safe from the uncertainties of the stock market. and is not subject to the ups and downs of the stock market.

This could be a way out of the pensions crisis plaguing the UK. Devised by Richard Murphy, Colin Hines and Labour MP Alan Simpson, it proposes a new framework for pensions, based on investment in public infrastructure projects and services, which is currently not an option for UK pension funds.

As Richard Murphy says, "We have a pension crisis because we've been investing pension cash in the wrong things. The stock market has absorbed most UK pension investment, but less than 15 per cent of that money has actually been used to create new investment in the UK economy. The rest has been used for speculation. The government now has a duty to make sure that a more reliable basis for paying pensions is created -- we can't gamble our future security again. People's Pensions can create that security. It will also mean that the current annual £16.5 billion of state subsidy for pensions, most of which is now gambled, is better used."

Colin Hines says, "What we are providing here is a new choice for those who want to save for their retirement. No-one would have to buy a People's Pension. But if you did you'd have the benefit of knowing you'd provided for your old age and helped your local economy, all at the same time. A People's Pension Fund that could be invested in health, transport, education, sustainable energy and social housing projects -- depending on the investor's choice -- would provide the double benefit of boosting the cash available for public services projects, at a much lower cost than PPP or PFI options, and restocking the value of UK pension plans so that they provide a secure and dignified retirement."

You can get a copy of the report by contacting, the New Economics Foundation,
3 Jonathan Street, London, SE11 5NH, Tel: 020 7820 6300 or you can download it free
http://www.neweconomics.org/gen/z_sys_PublicationDetail.aspx?PID=131

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