This week’s blog from our General Election Series looks at why ensuring that everyone in later life has enough money is a key part of our ambition for the next Parliament.
While Age UK celebrates the fact that being older is no longer synonymous with being poor, sadly this is still the reality for too many. That is why ensuring that people have enough money is a key part of Age UK’s ambition for the next Parliament and the first of our blogs looking at our five priorities.
There are still 1.6 million older people living in poverty and many others living just above the poverty line. We know this can’t be changed overnight but we believe all politicians should commit to at least halving the numbers in poverty by the end of the next Parliament.
We have highlighted two ways to help achieve this. Firstly let’s ensure there is a decent State Pension that recognises years of work and caring. The full amount of the new State Pension being introduced on 6 April 2016 will be more than £150 a week and will provide a boost for many low earners and women who have spent many years caring or in part-time low paid work.
But those who reach State Pension before then cannot benefit. We want the new Government to look at how those reaching State Pension age before April 2016 could be brought into the new system if it would improve their pension. Secondly we need to have an ambitious programme to encourage the take-up of benefit entitlements. There are still far too many older people missing out on benefits such as Pension Credit because the systems are too complicated or because they do not have the support they need to claim their rights.
We also want to ensure that those retiring in the future can look forward to a decent income in later life. The new State Pension will provide a clearer foundation for saving, and automatic enrolment is increasing the numbers who are saving into a private pension. But many people are still not saving enough for a decent income in retirement. We would like to see the Government look at how to reform tax relief to provide better incentives to save for those with modest incomes.
And while changes to private pensions in April 2015 will give people more options and flexibility about how they draw on their pension savings, making good choices may not be easy. Age UK believes it is essential that there are good value products for all savers and joined up information and advice at all stages. Wouldn’t it be good if everyone had the offer or a mid-life career review and then access to information and guidance throughout later life to help them make decisions around money, work, care and housing as they age?
On 7 May 2015, we will all vote to choose our future MPs and the next UK Government. It’s vital that once elected our politicians act on the issues that affect older people, today and tomorrow. Ask your Prospective Parliamentary Candidates to become Age Champions