I have been contacted by a number of constituents about the National Pensioners Convention ‘Pensioners Manifesto’. I thought that some of you would be interested to see my reply on this issue which also outlines Labour’s policies.
19 November 2014
Thank you for taking the trouble to write to me about the National Pensioners Convention ‘Pensioners Manifesto’. I always appreciate it when constituents contact me to share their views and concerns.
The Labour Party has a strong record and a long-term commitment to the welfare of Pensioners. Under the last Labour Government pensioner poverty was brought down to its lowest level for 30 years.
Our pensions system must be based on a simple principle: that those who have worked hard, contributed to society, and played their part in our nation’s success need to have this contribution recognised through a fair deal in retirement.
Labour remains committed to the “triple lock” which ensures that the basic state pension rises in line with earnings, inflation or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest. We would not include state pensions in a short term “cap” on social security spending.
In contrast, this Tory-led Government has raised the Women’s State Pension Age so rapidly that some women currently in their 50s will have to work for an extra two years than they had previously thought. Not only that but the Government’s flat rate pension plan risks short-changing 700,000 women. Labour have been asking the Government to look again at its Pension Bill so the new flat rate pension is truly fair and doesn’t leave hundreds of thousands of women born between 1951 and 1953 behind. The Labour party will always continue to fight for pensioner rights.
You mentioned, in your letter, your concern about universal benefits such as free bus passes. We are committed to the principle of universalism and the Labour Party has no plans to make changes to pensioners’ bus passes and TV licenses.
Your letter also made reference to your concerns about the growing crisis in the provision of Social Care and the NHS. I share your deep concerns – we’ve seen the dangerous effects of David Cameron’s wasteful, top-down reorganisation of the NHS right here in East Birmingham with the A&E crisis at Heartlands hospital. Under this Government the number of people waiting over 4 hours in A&E at Heartlands have gone up by an astonishing 240%!
This A&E crisis has grown out of the Tories drastic cuts to social care. The cuts have led to more and more elderly people attending A&E because they aren’t given the support or social care they need in the community.
The Labour Party is committed to the full integration of health and social care, and I was pleased to read that one of the top five recommendations of the National Pensioners Convention ‘Pensioners Manifesto’ is the creation of a “…National Health and Care Service which is free at the point of use and funded through taxation (merging the NHS and social care)”
This Tory-led Government has seen our NHS, and our Social Care system, pushed almost to breaking point. The best choice for the NHS next May is a vote for Labour.
Thank you again for taking the trouble to write to me – I really appreciate it. I hope you’ve found this letter useful but please don’t hesitate to write back to me if you have any further questions.
With all best wishes
RT HON LIAM BYRNE MP
Birmingham Hodge Hill