Comment on the WPC single-tier pension report
Published on 04 April 2013 12:00 PM
In response to the Work and Pensions Committee report on the single tier pension, published today, Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director General at Age UK, said:
"Age UK supports the overall aims of the single tier pension but like the Committee we have concerns about some aspects of the proposals and the transitional process. We also agree that its success hinges on an effective communications strategy so the public are fully aware of the changes and their impact.
"The level of the single tier needs to reduce means-testing and provide a good platform for saving but the White Paper uses a figure of £144 - which, as the Committee point out, is less than one per cent higher than current Pension Credit level. And while the government's calculations going forward are based on annual increases in line with the triple lock, this needs to be set out in the legislation in order to protect and maintain the value of the state pension.
"The government has always said that overall the new system won't cost more. But as proposed it will actually bring in extra income through increased NI from some workers. There is scope for using this extra revenue to provide a better pension for today's and tomorrow's pensioners. However without a full debate, the chancellor has earmarked the money for a national insurance allowance for employers. We're concerned that overall less money will end up going into the pension system in future and want a full debate before decisions are made.
"In our evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee, we highlighted concerns about a group of women who were relying on their husbands' NI record who would lose out and do not have time to change their retirement plans. We agree with the Committee's recommendation that a solution should be found to help those affected - for example by allowing those within 15 years of State Pension Age to retain this right.
"We also welcome the recommendation that the government needs to be clear about the transitional protection for those who could end up with a lower overall income due to changes in means-tested benefits. Age UK believes it is important that those with modest incomes reaching State Pension age in the early years of the single tier receive adequate protection."
Media contact: Vicky Smith/ Helen Spinney
Tel: 020 3033 1444/ 1713
Out of hours: 07071 243 243
Notes to editors
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.
Age UK is the new force combining Age Concern and Help the Aged, dedicated to improving later life.
We provide free information, advice and support to over six million people; commercial products and services to well over one million customers; and research and campaign on the issues that matter to people in later life. Our work focuses on five key areas: money matters, health and wellbeing, home and care, work and training and leisure and lifestyle. We work with our national partners, Age Scotland, Age Cymru and Age NI (together the Age UK Family), our local Age UK partners in England and local Age Concerns. We also work internationally for people in later life as a member of the DEC and with our sister charity Help Age International.
Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and company number 6825798). Age Concern England and Help the Aged (both registered charities), and their trading and other associated companies merged on the 1st April 2009. Together they have formed the Age UK Group ("we"). Charitable services are offered through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity's trading companies, which donate their net profits to Age UK (the Charity).