Pensions  

Pensions to be the polling station winner

Pensions to be the polling station winner

Pensions seems to be at the top of the election manifesto agenda for the main parties.

Leaving aside the Brexit/Remain policy of each political party, each of the contenders for the December 13 election have realised the voting power lies not with the youth but the rising cohort of those aged 55 and over.

For this reason, pensions has been high on the agenda and one of the key talking-points over the past couple of weeks, along with pledges on taxation that purport to put more spending power in the pockets of ordinary Britons.

Here is a short summary of the various pensions and taxation pledges laid out by the various parties.

Pensions

As reported in Financial Adviser, the Green Party was the first to unveil a series of measures targeting pensioners. In particular, the party pledged to support the Women Against State Pensions Inequality campaign, which aims to recompense those 1950s women who were affected by the rise in the state pension age. 

Following suit, the Liberal Democrats promised to ensure Waspi women were “properly compensated for the failure of government to properly notify them of changes to the state pension age”.

The Labour party said it would also consider the Waspi campaigners, and compensate women affected by a state pension age hike with a £58bn commitment.

As reported by Financial Adviser, John McDonnell, shadow chancellor, said the pay-outs were a “historic debt of honour” to the women born in the 1950s, and the party put forward the idea of keeping the SPA fixed at 66 years old.

On Sunday 24 November, the Conservatives issued their manifesto. Given under a previous Tory government, Waspi women were informed by former pensions minister Guy Opperman their campaign will get nowhere, it was unsurprising that the manifesto did not repeat the headline-grabbing promises to rectify the pensions gap caused by the rise in women's SPA.

According to Baroness Ros Altmann, former pensions minister, the lack of commitment from the Conservatives to help Waspi women is "disappointing". While she does not think the Labour proposals are affordable - it would be a "staggering cost of £58bn" worth of taxpayers' money - she said she was "distressed that the Conservatives did not appreciate the problems that increasing women's SPA created".

Ms Altmann has suggested creating a flexible band of statutory pension ages, recognising health and years contributed to National Insurance, which could allow earlier access for some people, rather than continually raising the minimum age for everyone, regardless of their circumstances. 

But, as FTAdviser reported, the Conservatives did propose to fix a tax relief anomaly whereby, at the moment, people on the lowest salaries - the majority of whom are women, can end up missing out on £8,000 in pension savings during their working life.