LibDems say Labour fails the basic testThe Liberal Democrats have hit out at the Government, claiming the current pension system
is “undignified” and traps many people in poverty.
Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show an estimated two million pensioners in the UK are living in poverty, with a further one million in fuel poverty.
Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Steve Webb claims Labour has failed pensioners, as the basic state pension is too small to live on.
He says: “Labour’s changes to the pension system have not protected many older people from the indignities of poverty.
“It is still the case that pensioners forced to rely on the state pension and Labour’s complex and undignified system of means-tested benefits are more likely to live in fuel poverty.
“The Conservatives presided over the erosion of the state pension in the 1980s and it has never recovered. The basic state pension is simply too little to live on for the millions of pensioners who have no other income. Webb adds: “We need a more generous, universal pension based on citizenship to give pensioners a sense of dignity and a stable income in retirement.”
Research from Prudential shows 18 per cent of people planning to retire this year will be reliant on the state pension. Despite that, nearly a hird of the people in the company’s nationwide study either do not know how much the basic state pension pays or overestimate the individual weekly amount by £25 or more.
Defined-contribution solutions director Martyn Bogira says: “If the basic state pension is your only source of income you could be in an extremely precarious position financially. “Just one financial emergency, like your central heating system unexpectedly breaking down, could cause serious hardship for those expecting to retire on the state pension alone.”