I write in response to Reg O’Donoghue, who asked a couple of weeks ago “why the elderly are blamed for everything?”
I can see where Reg is coming from – but I hope he agrees that there have been many positive changes since 2010, led by my friend Steve Webb, the hugely respected Liberal Democrat Pensions Minister.
The most important is the guarantee of a proper annual rise in the state pension, by the adoption of the ‘triple lock’ policy. For the first time ever pensions now always rise in line with any increase in the cost of living.
Pensions will always go up by the rate of inflation, average earnings, or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest. This ends the insulting 75p rise we had under Labour, and puts back the earnings link and more – which Mrs Thatcher broke and Labour never restored.
Care costs are now capped – to stop the outrage of older people having to sell their homes to pay for end of life care.
And we have abolished retirement ages, so that older people cannot be forced out of work simply on the grounds of age.
But, Reg, of course we can do more. I will keep fighting for the elderly. In the next parliament Liberal Democrats plan to put the triple lock into law – which Labour have not said they will do.
We want to simplify the pension system to make it easier for older people to plan their retirement. And many pensioners will benefit from our plans to increase the personal income tax allowance to at least £12,500 by 2020.
Some may blame the elderly for the UK’s problems. But I and all other Liberal Democrats never think this is the right way to treat our senior citizens.
Simon Hughes, Member of Parliament for Bermondsey & Old Southwark