Increase in the Basic State Pension and Restoration of the Link

Back to all Motions

2007 Retired Members' Conference
13 June 2007

Conference regrets that in his March 2007 budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, again failed to increase the basic state pension to restore its value if the link to average earnings had not been broken by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government. Pensioners should have an immediate rise now to restore the pension value and future increases should be linked to male average earning or the Retail Price Index (RP) whichever is the greater.

The Government has also again ignored the discussions between the National Pensioners Convention and the Minister for Work and Pensions, James Hutton MP. Campaigns, responses to the Pensions White Paper and lobbies are also ignored as if pensioners do not exist. The continued attitude of the Government is deplorable and has to change if MPs are expecting pensioners to re-elect a Labour Government.

Although the link has been promised for 2012, the Treasury may decide not to implement it and many more pensioners will have died struggling to meet higher fuel bills and coping with increased council tax, water rates etc.

In the meantime, the abhorrent meanstesting of pensioners continues, causing concern and hardship to those who are unable to cope with the bureaucracy and who exist with incomes below the poverty level (1.8 million pensioners are entitled to Pension Credit but do not claim it according to Government figures). Other pensioners are just slightly above the cut off level for claims and are not eligible for any financial help at all.

In April 2007, Pension Credit was raised by £5 per week, basic state pension by £3, increases in Pension Credit are linked to earnings.

Therefore, Conference

1.instructs the National Retired Members’ Committee (NRMC) and calls on the National Executive Council to liaise with the National Pensioners’ Convention, Trade Union Congress and all appropriate organisations to achieve:

a)an immediate substantial increase in the basic state pension to £138 per week to restore its value;

b)the immediate restoration of the link to male average earnings or RPI whichever is the greater. Deferring this link to 2012 is unacceptable;

2.instructs the NRMC to communicate progress to all UNISON retired members:

i)through Senior Service quarterly in January, April and July 2008 and;

ii)monthly bulletins to Regional Committees to commence in January 2008.