RPI not CPI for indexation of pensions

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2011 Retired Members' Conference
11 October 2011

Conference condemns the decision of the coalition government to change the indexation of pensions from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from April 2011. Conference believes that this change in indexation from RPI to CPI together with the rising cost of living will result is a significant increase in pensioner poverty and will cause untold misery to tens of thousands of vulnerable older people.

The Retired Members’ Conference asks the National Executive Council to press for the Retail Prices Index (RPI) to be used in future for all state and occupational pensions in the UK.

In real terms the CPI is less than the RPI in most years. Because the RPI includes housing, council tax and many other costs borne by the elderly, RPI represents a fairer benchmark for establishing pension and benefit increases. CPI is consistently lower than the RPI meaning that pensioners will see a long-term decline in the real value of their pensions and other benefits, estimated as a total loss of between 7%-15% of retirement income for every individual pensioner over a five year period.

Conference demands that this situation is addressed as a matter of urgency and that UNISON should be at the forefront of such a campaign and should use all means at its disposal to oppose this change and keep pension indexation linked to RPI.

Conference therefore instructs the National Retired Members’ Committee to:

1.Liaise with the National Executive Council (NEC), Labour Link and other relevant bodies about ways of opposing this proposal;

2.Liaise with the NEC over working with the Trades Union Congress throughout the UK about a coordinated campaign to involve all trade unions including legitimate civil action if needed;

3.Publicise this opposition through all appropriate channels and seek support for the retention of index linking of pensions to RPI;

4.Urge all retired members to write to their MPs on this issue and seek their support for the retention of index linking of pensions to RPI;

5.Report back to Retired Members’ Conference 2012.