Weston pensioners petition John Penrose MP

John Penrose MP

Ken Lacey, Chairman of Weston’s Senior Citizens Forum, has presented a petition to John Penrose MP, expressing concern over pension issues.

Some of the concerns raised by Ken included freezing higher personal tax allowances for the over 65s, using the consumer prices, reducing the winter fuel allowance by £100 and increases in stamp prices.

Ken Lacey comments: “As petitions go this is quite small in numbers, just under 1,000 signatures, but its protest is echoed by many older people across the country.

“The recent financial changes in the low basic pension are already having a detrimental and disproportionate effect on pensioners.

“This petition and comments are to draw the Government’s attention to the problems being faced by many pensioners who are trying to make ends meet. Any further changes in the basic pension must be upwards.”

On the petition John Penrose comments: “It’s important for local concerns to be heard so I’ll happily make sure the petition reaches the Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, even though Ken and I don’t really agree on this.

For example, even though higher personal tax allowances have been frozen, people will still be miles better off because we’ve introduced the ‘triple lock’ which means pensions will go up by the higher of wage inflation, price inflation or 2.5% a year.

“It should stop pensions being eroded at a stroke, and means that worrying about the difference between retail and consumer price inflation is probably beside the point, because wage inflation is higher in 9 years out of 10 anyway – which is why Ken and I campaigned together to achieve this change for the last 10 years.

“That said, I take Ken’s point about the Winter Fuel Allowance going down, but I wish the petition made clear that the cut was imposed by the last Labour Government, not us.

“And increasing the price of stamps was a Royal Mail decision which the Government condemned as well. But no matter what the details are, I will certainly make sure the Minister understands how local people feel on this important issue”.