Pension Credit

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2013 National Retired Members Conference
13 June 2013

Conference notes that:

1)there are two kinds of Pension Credit, Guarantee Credit which sets a minimum income for everybody over the qualifying age, and Savings Credit, which seeks to ensure that people over 65 who have saved a modest amount for old age are better off as a result;

2)four in ten pensioners qualify for Pension Credit but a third of them do not claim;

3)under Labour, both kinds of Pension Credit rose with prices, but under the Coalition, Guarantee Credit has risen each year by the same amount in cash as the State Pension cutting the living standards of the poorest pensioners while Savings Credit has faced even greater cuts;

4)the Welfare Reform Act removes Pension Credit from couples where only one partner is over the qualifying age;

5)the government intends to abolish both kinds of Pension Credit for people reaching State Retirement Age from 2016 but it will remain for older pensioners;

Conference considers that:

a)the level of public service pensions in payment makes it likely that many UNISON Retired Members, especially women members, qualify for Pension Credit;

b)Guarantee Credit should be restored urgently to at least its 2010 real value and restored to mixed-age couples;

c)Savings Credit was never an adequate reward for savings but it is better than nothing so it too should be restored to at least its 2010 real value and to mixed-age couples and be retained for those reaching state pension age from 2016;

Conference instructs the National Retired Members’ Committee to raise the question of Pension Credit with the National Executive Council with a view to:

i)liaising with the Service Group Executives and with other trades unions as need be to urge the Local Government Pension Funds, the National Health Service Pension Scheme and other appropriate pension providers to promote Pension Credit take-up among their pensioners; and,

ii)raising with the National Affiliated Political Committee (besides raising all UNISON’s other policies on pensions) the need for an incoming Labour government to act urgently to restore the living standards of less-well-off pensioners by:

a)restoring the value of both kinds of pension credit;

b)restoring eligibility to mixed-age couples; and,

c)retaining Saving Credit for all pensioners.