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Published on 23 March 2011 04:00 PM

Age Cymru’s Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Graeme Francis has today commented on the 2011 Budget.

On the new flat-rate state pension, Graeme Francis said:

“Plans to consider introducing a higher, flat-rate state pension are very good news.

"Our state pension system is one of the least generous and most complicated in the developed world so any move which takes away the guesswork for those nearing retirement is a step in the right direction.

"However, Age Cymru is concerned with the announcement that current pensioners will not benefit from the new pension. 

"The UK Government must not turn its back on the 119,000 current pensioners in Wales living in poverty.

"Much more should be done to get vital benefits to all those who need them.”

On the state pension age announcement, Graeme Francis said:

“Given that life expectancy is increasing, we accept that rises in the state pension age should be considered.

"But we must guard against any automatic system for future increases being based solely on average life expectancy.

"Other equally important factors must be taken into account such as the impact on the poorest, the unemployed and those with health problems or disabilities.

"Age Cymru hopes that compassion will be shown to the most disadvantaged given the Chancellor’s assertion that this is how our society should be judged.

“Receiving enough time to plan properly for delayed retirement is a key requirement for increases to the state pension age.

"That’s why Age Cymru strongly objects to the UK Government’s plans to increase the state pension age to 66 by 2020.

"By pushing ahead with proposals in the current Pensions Bill, the UK Government is effectively denying millions of people the notice period they need.”

For more information: Call Age Cymru Advice: 08000 223 444