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Councillor Zadrozny's Column - Pensioners

October 13, 2014 1:10 PM
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

PensionI first became politically aware in 1998, when my grandmother suffered a series of strokes so severe she was forced to move into full time nursing care. With no savings she was forced to sell her home of nearly forty years to pay for her care. Since then I've always believed that how a society treats its elderly people is a measure of how fair that society is.

That's why there was wide condemnation when, back in 2000, pensioners got an insulting 75p rise from the Labour Government. Pensioners rightly felt cheated by a system that didn't make having a pension worthwhile. If people have worked incredibly hard their entire life, then the least the Government can do is to ensure that their pension is worth having. That's why Liberal Democrats in Government have changed the system, and are securing a prosperous and fair future for Britain's pensioners.

In our 2010 manifesto we had a policy called the 'triple lock guarantee' which re-established the link between pensions and earnings; a link that had remained broken since Margaret Thatcher's Government of 1980. We demanded it that it was part of the Coalition Agreement and we have delivered it in Government.

This means that pensioners in Ashfield are guaranteed an annual rise by earnings growth, prices growth or 2.5%, whichever is the highest! The state pension is now £440 higher per year in 2014-15 than if it had increased in line with earnings from the start of this Parliament, benefitting the thousands of pensioners in Ashfield, all thanks to the Liberal Democrat triple lock. The new scheme is actually benefiting 177,999 pensioners across Nottinghamshire.

I spend hours on the doorstep each day - talking to my neighbours from Sutton, Kirkby and other parts of Ashfield. After all - it's good to talk! People tell me how impressed they are that in Government my party are treating pensioners how they should be treated - with respect. I am pleased to say that we have committed to continuing our good work. Gone are the days when a pension increase wouldn't even have bought a loaf of bread!