COULD I correct R Walker of Moortown, when he says government rule changes will reduce state pensions. The rule changes he refers to relate only to public and private sector occupational pensions, and even then, the new index used (Consumer Prices Index) does not always produce a lower rate – for much of 2009 it would have produced higher pensions as the Retail Prices Index was lower then.
As for the state pension, the situation is very positive. The government has restored the link with earnings rather than prices (starting in April this year), meaning much bigger pensions increases in the future. The earnings link was broken under Margaret Thatcher, and Labour failed to restore it in 13 years of government.
The government is also bringing forward proposals for a new flat rate state pension for all, likely to be set at £140 per week for a single pensioner and £280 for a couple. This compares with the current rates of £97.65 and £156.15. This will stop the indignity of millions of pensioners being means-tested and instead guarantee everyone a much better state pension.
I believe that this represents a better deal for all pensioners and should be applauded.
Councillor Martin Hamilton, Lib Dem, Headingley Ward