David Ruffley Pledges a Fair Deal for Suffolk Pensioners

Monday, 13 October, 2003

David Ruffley MP today endorsed new Conservative plans to increase the basic state pension in line with earnings and reverse the trend for more and more pensioners to have to subject themselves to intrusive means tests. Over a four year period, the basic state pension would rise by £7 a week for a single person and £11 a week for couples- in addition to increases to match inflation.

David explained, 'The Government's means tested benefits are so complex that even they admit that 1.4 million of the poorest pensioners won't claim them. They are humiliating for many pensioners to fill out and undermine the incentive to save.

'Labour have caused a crisis in our pensions. Final salary schemes are in crisis, personal pensions have halved, means testing has risen dramatically, and thousands of people across Suffolk will retire without enough to live comfortably.

'Instead, we will give Suffolk pensioners dignity in retirement. In order to reverse the spread of means testing, we will restore the earnings link for the state pension. Over a four year period we expect this will release over a million pensioners from means testing. No pensioner will lose. Most will gain. We will offer a fair deal for everyone on pensions.'