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Worcester pensioners welcome PM's pledge over increases
PENSIONERS are in line for a £1,000 rise by 2020 – but free bus passes, TV licences and winter fuel payments could be axed for the better-off.
The measures, revealed by Prime Minister David Cameron, have largely been backed by OAPs in Worcestershire, despite claims they are a bribe ahead of the next general election.
Mr Cameron says if the Tories win the next election, pensions will rise by at least £20 a week by 2020, 2.5 per cent each year, costing the country around £12 billion.
But he refused to rule out means-testing for bus passes, TV licences and winter fuel allowances, a move that work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith is pushing for.
The pensions rise is an attempt to woo the grey vote, and comes amid a backdrop of rising prices for food and electricity.
Ron Chambers, chairman of Worcestershire Pensioners Action Group, said: “It’s one of those catch-22 situations.
“On one hand, they are offering you more money, but on the other one, they could be taking it away.
“I think it’s a ploy to get people to vote. We all know the elderly tend to vote a lot more than other people.
“The other problem is that prices of things are always going up.
“It will certainly benefit some people, but not the pensioners we deal with.”
Maurice Jenkins, aged 71, of Lichfield Avenue, Ronkswood, said: “If it works out then great.
“I reckon all the parties should agree on this anyway.
“It would give me a real sense of relative security, especially if the gas bills keep on rising. It’s very good.”
But Joan Parker, aged 88, who lives in the Furness Close sheltered housing complex, in Langdale Drive, Warndon, said she was unhappy at the proposed timing of the increases.
“I worked all my life and I don’t think the current pension is a lot,” she said.
“Prices are going up and what we get now doesn’t go far.”
Mr Cameron is keen on keeping the free perks in place for all pensioners, but is facing pressure from both Mr Duncan Smith and Chancellor George Osborne.
Labour has already revealed it would axe winter fuel payments for up to 600,000 pensioners deemed the best off, suggesting the general public support it.
Under Mr Cameron’s offer, pensioners would get a minimum of 2.5 per cent extra on their state pension – and more if average wage increases, or the consumer price index rose more.
Experts say it will likely result in an £80 per month rise by 2020, worth around £1,000 a year extra when compared to today's rate.
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