A Better Deal for Pensioners

“East Dunbartonshire has a growing elderly population. Our plans for a Citizen’s Pension will help local people by giving them a decent pension as a right. My generation owes a huge amount to pensioners who lived through economic depression, world war, and rationing, to give us the country we have today.”

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The Citizens’ Pension

Our pensions system is overly complicated, unfair and far too low. The Liberal Democrats have long championed a simplified, universal Citizen’s Pension, based on residency. The out-dated system of basing pensions on national insurance contributions unfairly discriminates against women who have taken breaks from work to bring up children or care for relatives.

As part of the coalition government we have restored the link between pensions and earnings, so older people’s living standards don’t fall behind the rest of the population. We have also introduced a ‘triple-lock’ so that pensions will always increase by the greatest of earnings, inflation or 2.5%. This change will make all pensioners substantially better off over time.

The Liberal Democrats also want to boost private savings, with all employees being automatically enrolled in non-state pensions, with a right to opt out. The Pensions minister, Liberal Democrat Steve Webb, has launched a review of the best way to introduce auto enrolment.

News stories on the pensions system

23/06/10 Budget good news for pensioners

Jo visits Auchinairn Senior Citizens Forum, May 2008

26/02/10 Jo stands up for East Dunbartonshire pensioners

12/03/08 Raw deal for poorer children and pensioners in budget

26/12/07 Huge DWP bonuses are an insult to pensioners

17/07/07 Jo criticises Government priorities on womens pensions

13/12/06 Personal Accounts fatally flawed

29/11/06 Government Bill fails to help today’s East Dunbartonshire pensioners

31/08/06 Jo launches online pensions petition

14/08/06 Monday Club hosts Jo Swinson for pensions campaign launch

25/05/06 White Paper will not help today’s Scottish Pensioners – Jo

22/03/06 Budget fails to provide for Scottish pensioners – Jo

02/12/05 Jo to fight for women pensioners on Channel 4

05/12/05 Chancellor must not be allowed to break pensions consensus – Jo

07/11/05 Women and Carers “systematically failed by the pensions system” – Jo

20/10/05 Government failing to prevent pensions crisis – Jo Swinson

12/07/05 Jo Swinson wants fairer pensions for carers

22/06/05 Jo Swinson demands urgent action on Pension Reform

Could you be entitled to a boost to your pension?

Jo visits the Monday Club, September 2008

  • Have you reached pension age in the last ten years? (Are you a woman in your 60s or a man aged 65-74?)
  • Are you currently drawing a basic state pension of less than the maximum figure of £87.30 per week?
  • Were you of working age for one or more years from 1996-97 to 2001-02 and didn’t pay a year of National Insurance contributions?

I am asking local pensioners who have retired within the last 10 years to contact me to check whether they are eligible for extra money through a little-publicised government scheme. The scheme allows pensioners to fill ‘gaps’ in their record of National Insurance contributions, sometimes at no cost to themselves. Click on the news story below to find out more, and please do get in touch with me if you think you may be eligible.

11/10/07 Cash windfall could await local pensioners

Are you missing out on Pension Credit?

Figures obtained from the Department of Work and Pensions show that as many as 3000 pensioners in East Dunbartonshire could be missing out on Pension Credit money that is rightfully theirs. Around 450,000 people in Scotland are eligible for Pension Credit, but almost 90,000 of them are missing out by not claiming for it. Please click on the link below for more information to find out whether you could be eligible for Pension Credit.

News stories on Pension Credit

12/03/07 90,000 Scots let down on Pension Credit

28/09/06 Pension Credit failure revealed as Jo Swinson visits East Dunbartonshire Care Homes

17/05/06 Government’s missed target is another blow for East Dunbartonshire pensioners – Jo

Axe the Tax

Council Tax is a deeply unfair system which was brought in by the Tories and continued by Labour. The Liberal Democrats believe it is an unfair tax because it is not based on people’s ability to pay. This means that people on fixed incomes, such as pensioners, are hit particularly hard. We would replace the Council Tax with a Local Income Tax which is based on people’s ability to pay. For more information on our Axe the Tax campaign, please visit the campaign website:

News stories on the Axe the Tax campaign

05/07/05 Council Tax – unfair and must be scrapped says Jo

20/04/05 Scrapping Council Tax – the fair way forward says Jo

14/03/05 Fairview Court residents press Jo Swinson on Council Tax reforms

22/06/04 East Dunbartonshire demands to scrap the council tax to be put to Scottish Executive

11/03/04 Petition Launched to Scrap the Council Tax

Fuel Poverty

As of 2009, 850,000 households in Scotland are living in fuel poverty, a problem which disproportionately affects the elderly. Liberal Democrat proposals to tackle fuel poverty include action to ensure that the cheapest retail prices are available to the most vulnerable customers. This means acting in conjunction with regulator Ofcom to eliminate the higher prices paid by customers on pre-payment meters, compared to those people who have access to internet direct debit tariffs. The following links details some of my actions on fuel poverty.

15/01/10 Almost 1,500 local pensioners will miss out on Cold Weather Payments

08/01/10 Jo reminds constituents there is heating help available

30/11/09 Jo highlights home heating advice line

18/12/08 Jo Swinson welcomes fuel poverty helpline

03/11/08 Jo demands extension of Winter Fuel Payment to disabled

01/08/08 Serious concern over impact of British Gas rises

14/11/07 Winter misery for pensioners facing heating scheme delays

08/11/07 Government leaves pensioners out in the cold

04/12/06 Jo backs national campaign for Warm Homes

20/12/05 Jo gives support as campaign for winter warmth hots up

14/10/05 Protect Vulnerable Against Rising Fuel Prices – Jo

Other related news stories

06/08/10 Volunteers make circle of friends in Milngavie

02/03/10 Save our mobile library service

11/12/09 Rail fare rises to hit pensioners

01/09/08 Jo gets active at Baldernock Monday Club

28/05/08 St Dominic’s Senior Citizens’ Club welcomes Jo

12/05/08 Auchinairn Seniors’ Forum welcomes Jo

23/08/07 Silver Surfers back Jo’s new online service

20/08/07 Anti-social behaviour top of senior citizens’ concerns

21/06/07 Digital TV charges to hit thousands of Pensioners and Disabled

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