Basic State Pension/Pension Credit Guarantee

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2012 National Retired Members Conference
19 June 2012

This National Retired Members Conference is concerned that the Basic State Pension (BSP) and Pension Credit (means-tested) are still well below the poverty level.

According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Minimum Income Standard for 2011 for a single pensioner, excluding rent or mortgage, is £154.62 per week, and for a pensioner couple £232.74 per week, using a special ‘pensioner basket’ of goods for the inflation calculation.

The decision to increase the BSP by 5.2% from April 2012 was calculated in line with the Consumer Price Index figure for September 2011. It was not what MPs, including George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, described as a ‘generous increase’ when counteracting criticism on the decision in the 21 March 2012 Budget to freeze the age related personal tax allowances for pensioners.

The BSP from April 2012 for a single pensioner is £107.45 per week and £171.85 for a couple. These figures are well below the Minimum Income Standards recommended by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. Not including rent or mortgage the difference for a single pensioner is £47.17 less for a single pensioner and £60.89 less for a couple. No percentage increases are adequate as the BSP is well below this level.

From April 2012, the means-tested Pension Credit Guarantee for a single pensioner will be increased by 3.9% from £137.35 to £142.70 per week and from £209.70 to £217.90 for a couple. This seeks to give Pension Credit the same actual cash increase as the BSP, rather than the same percentage increase. But even after means-testing which should guarantee the minimum income for a single pensioner to live on, it is £11.92 below this and for a couple, it is £14.84 below. The comparisons are with the Minimum Income Standards, the very least amount that pensioners could be expected to survive on.

Therefore, this Unison National Retired Members Conference instructs the National Retired Members Committee and calls on the National Executive Council to:

a)urgently organise a campaign strategy to make our concerns known to the Government, thoroughly researching the facts and figures beforehand;

b. updated reports to be considered at each National Retired Members Committee meeting;


c. publicise each phase of the strategy as it is achieved in Interactive and other Unison publications.