6 April 2009
Today, on National Pensions Action Day (Monday 6 April), the Green Party announces its key election pledge for pensioners - a £165 a week non-means-tested citizens' pension for every pensioner in the UK.
The pledge will form part of the Green New Deal for Older People, which the Green Party will launch in the coming months as part of the build-up to the next general election (1).
Jean Lambert MEP, the Green Party's spokesperson on social affairs, said today:
"The Green Party today celebrates Pensions Action Day with possibly the best action a political party could take for British pensioners: a policy that would lift all our pensioners out of poverty."
The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) have been calling for a pension at or above the official poverty level, which is defined as 60% of median population earnings less housing costs. For 2007/8 this would have meant a single person's pension of £151 per week - compared to the actual full state pension of £95.25 and a pensions credits guarantee level of about £120 a week.
The NPC has recently pointed out that:
- Between 1997 and 2006, the number of British people living in severe poverty - defined as living on less than 40% of median population income - increased by 600,000.
- Last year the poorest quarter of UK pensioner households saw their incomes rise by less than 1%, well below inflation. The poorest single pensioners saw their real incomes drop by 4%.
- At least 15% of UK pensioners - over 1.5m older people - are living in persistent poverty (below 60% median population income for three out of the last four years).
- Pensioner poverty in the UK has risen in the last year by 300,000 - equivalent to 822 people a day - and now reaches 2.5m (1 in 4 older people). Two thirds of these pensioners are women.
Jean Lambert, who was elected in 1999 as London's Green MEP and now sits on the European Parliament's Inter-Group on Ageing, commented:
"If the other parties are unwilling to lift pensioners out of poverty, then it's clear pensioners will need to elect Greens to fight their corner. Voting Green is about building a better future - and that includes a secure economic future for older people."
Jean Lambert MEP will lead the Green Party delegation in support of the NPC demonstration in London. She will be joined by Darren Johnson AM, the Green Party's trade & industry spokesperson and its parliamentary candidate for Lewisham Deptford, and Cllr Romayne Phoenix of Lewisham Borough Council.
Notes to Editors
1. The full Green New Deal for Older People will explain how the UK can afford to lift all pensioners out of poverty.