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National Pensioners Convention calls for state pension boost

The National Pensioners Convention is calling on Chancellor Alistair Darling to substantially increase the state pension as part of today’s pre-Budget report.

The basic state pension currently stands at £90.70 a week and is set to rise to £95.24 in April next year, thanks to high inflation in September.

But the NPC says the rising cost of living is pushing more and more pensioners into poverty – the number now stands at 2.5 million – and a substantial jump in the state pension is needed to prevent this number escalating.

The NPC’s proposal is part of a five-point plan to boost pensioner incomes and stimulate local economies.

It is calling for the pensioner Christmas Bonus, which has been stuck at £10 for 36 years, to be increased to £100 this winter and recommends the Winter Fuel Allowance be doubled to £500 per pensioner household. The NPC also wants free travel for pensioners UK-wide and their council tax to be frozen.

NPC general secretary Joe Harris says: “Pensioners urgently need a boost to their income to help them through the current economic crisis. These measures would not only put money into pensioners’ pockets in the short-term, but they would also ensure that local economies benefited, because pensioners would go out and spend their extra money. The Chancellor has already spoken about cutting taxes – but pensioners want to see some real money in their hands this Christmas. Mr Darling has a choice – does he want to be the pensioners’ Santa or Mr Scrooge?”

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