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Age UK comments on the Budget announcement

Published on 23 March 2011 04:30 PM

General overview

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK, said:

"For Age UK the highlight of the budget was the Chancellor's hint that the Government will introduce a simple flat-rate state pension of £140 per week. We now want this turned into a firm commitment and timetable, so that those approaching retirement have financial certainty.

"For Age UK and other charities, the changes in Gift Aid and inheritance tax will come as a welcome boost in financially challenging times.

"We are disappointed that forthcoming age discrimination laws will be put on hold for small businesses over the next three years. This gives out the wrong message to business implying that treating people fairly is a burden rather than an opportunity.

"The Chancellor missed an opportunity in his Budget to give hope, and more funding, to millions of older people who rely on council-funded care and support. Older people and their families are battling to secure decent care in the face of the most brutal council cuts in recent memory."

New flat-rate state pension

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK, 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. But the Government must not turn its back on the 1.8 million current pensioners living in poverty. Much more should be done to get vital benefits cash to all those who need it."

State pension age

"We are all living longer, so 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. This is a test for the compassionate society which the Chancellor and Prime Minister say they want.

"Having enough time to plan properly for delayed retirement is a key requirement for increases to the state pension age. That's why we strongly object to the Government's plans to increase the state pension age to 66 by 2020. By pushing ahead with proposals in the current Pensions Bill, the Government is effectively denying millions of people the notice period they need.'

Changes to Gift Aid

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK, said:

'Cutting red tape to make it easier for charities to collect Gift Aid back from the Government will help save on administration costs and ensure more money is freed up to go into charitable work.

'Legacies are a vital source of income to Age UK and any incentives to encourage people to donate in this way will help us do more to improve later life for people in the UK and across the world.'

Scrapping of new equality regulations for small business

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director at Age UK said:

'Postponing new regulations for small businesses will, we fear, delay the banning of age discrimination in the provision of goods and services, a vital reform which will benefit millions of people.

'Age equality is good for business and for older people and there are new business opportunities targeting older consumers.

'We appreciate that times are hard for small businesses but we would have preferred the Government to provide support to help companies adapt to the changes, which will help them reach more customers in the long run.'

- ENDS -

Notes to Editors

Age UK works in partnership with Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI. For media enquiries relating to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland please contact the appropriate national office:.Age Scotland on 0131 668 8055, Age Cymru on 029 2043 1562 and Age NI on 028 9024 5729.

Media contact: Fiona Callister
Tel: 020 8765 7439
Out of hours: 07071 243 243

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Last updated: Oct 06 2017

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