- 2008 Retired Members' Conference
- 12 June 2008
- Carried as Amended
Conference regrets that in his March 2008 Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, 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 earnings or the Retail Price Index (RPI) whichever is the greater. If the link had not been broken in 1980, the pension would now be £145.15 a week for an individual. The National Insurance Fund surplus is £46 billion as at April 2008.
Although the link has been promised for 2012, the Treasury may decide not to implement it and 3 million of today’s pensioners will have died and the pension’s value will be so low that the extra the link will give will be just £1.40 more than under the old system (RPI link). The Government has completely ignored lobbies and campaigns.
In the meantime, the abhorrent means testing of pensioners continues, causing concern and hardship to those who are unable to cope with the bureaucracy and who exist with incomes below the official poverty level of £134. According to Government figures, nearly 2 million pensioners are entitled to Pension Credit but do not claim it. Increases in Pension Credit are linked to earnings but increases in the basic state pension are not. Pensioner poverty is suffered by pensioners who are just slightly above the cut off level for claims and are not eligible for any financial help at all.
i.Instructs the National Retired Members Committee’ 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 £145.15 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.
ii.Instructs the National Retired Members’ Committee to communicate progress to all UNISON retired members:
a.Through Interactive in January, April and July 2009;
b.Monthly bulletins to Regional Committees to commence in January 2009.