Green candidate, Harper, in pledge over pensioner poverty

Edinburgh Greens are highlighting the Scottish Green Party’s pledge to end pensioner poverty through a package of measures, which includes an increase of the state pension to £170 per week. The Green Party’s ‘Older People’s Pledge’ also commits to protect future public sector pensions, which the parties to the right are getting ready to cut.Robin Harper, Green MSP for the Lothians and Edinburgh East candidate, said,

“Two million of Britain’s state pensioners still live in poverty, yet billions of benefits are left unclaimed. The public sector is also now under attack, with pensions an easy target. The Greens would stand up for people’s pension rights, and challenge all other political parties to accept that a fundamentally fairer tax system would be able to fund them.

“At the moment, the richest in society pay a smaller proportion of their wealth in tax than the poorest, and that’s before we look at the loopholes and tax dodges which both Labour and Tory Governments have permitted. We would close those loopholes, and introduce a new tax on financial transactions, to make sure those who are benefiting from wheeler-dealing in the city pay their share. Even a tiny levy on the bankers’ gambling habit would help pay for pensions and public services. Our pledge would ensure that no pensioner would fall below the poverty line.”The pledge has been costed and consists of:1. A (non means tested) state pension of £170 per week and £300 for a couple (linked to national earnings)
2. An end to the over complex pension credit system.
3. Free insulation to help fight fuel poverty providing warmer homes and less reliance on winter fuel payments.
4. Free personal and nursing care for all older people (already available in Scotland, not yet in England)
5. Freedom for older people to work by ending the default retirement age, enabling people to have the freedom to go on working and contributing to society
if they wished to, free from discrimination on the basis of age.