Older people’s charities have criticised the government’s pension plans as doing too little to tackle poverty, but campaigners backed proposals to help carers.
Age Concern and Help the Aged warned many older people would be left in poverty because of the decision in last week’s pensions white paper to delay adjusting the basic state pension in line with earnings, as opposed to prices, until 2012.
Age Concern said the state pension, now worth 84 a week for a single person, would fall to 72 in today’s terms by 2012.
The government said it intended to uprate the guarantee pension credit, now worth 114 a week, with earnings beyond 2008, to help low-income pensioners.
Carers UK welcomed moves to prevent the system penalising carers. Those who care for disabled people for 20 hours or more a week will receive credits for the basic and state second pensions. Only those caring for more than 35 hours are now entitled, through the carer’s allowance.
And the qualifying working period for the basic state pension will be cut to 30 years by 2010, from 44 for men and 39 for women.
Security in Retirement: Towards a New Pensions System from www.dwp.gov.uk