Quality of Retired Life

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2012 National Retired Members Conference
12 June 2012
Carried as Amended

UNISON Retired Members’ Conference reaffirms its commitment to the eradication of pensioner poverty in Britain. This can happen only if there are good quality final salary occupational pensions in both the private and public sectors and a basic state pension linked to earnings.

The Coalition’s attack on pensions is driven by a political determination to make public sector workers and all current pensioners in private and public sector schemes, as well as those currently receiving the state pension, carry the burden of the deficit caused by tax avoidance and greed.

The linking of state, public and many private pensions in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) instead of the Retail Price Index (RPI) was motivated by a desire to drive down the value of pensions year-by-year. Britain already had one of the lowest state pension rates as expressed as a percentage of average working pay. This, as anticipated, is being worsened by linkage of pensions to the CPI and is already driving many more people, particularly women, into poverty.

At the same time, raising the state retirement age attacks the least well off, as evidence shows that there is a direct link between affluence and life expectancy. In addition, raising the state retirement age will inevitably result in many people, significantly the poorest and least healthy, working until they drop.

UNISON Retired Members’ Conference therefore calls upon the National Retired Members’ Committee and the NEC to:

1)Support the National Pensioners’ Convention call for an increase in the basic state pension for all existing pensioners, regardless of contributions, to above the official poverty level.

2)Continue to campaign for state pensions to be linked annually to average earnings, the Retail Price Index or 2.5 per cent – whichever is the highest.

3)Call for the cost of higher pensions to be met by tax on high earners, on excess company profits and through measures against tax avoidance.

4)Campaign for the reduction of the state retirement age to 60 for all.