Pensioners ask MP for answers

PUBLISHED: 15:00 05 August 2012

Archant

CHAIRMAN of Weston’s Senior Citizens’ Forum is urging MP John Penrose to ‘dig out’ some answers on why age-related payments in pensions have not risen in 41 years.

What can 25p buy you today?

The Age Addition payment of 25p could buy you many items in 1971 but pensioners will have to get out a lot more from their purses if they want to take those items home today.

1971 - A dozen eggs -25p – A dozen eggs - £1.98

Eight first class stamps – 24p – Eight first class stamps - £4.80

Four pints of milk – 24p – Four pints of milk - £1

Two loaves of bread – 19p – Two loaves of bread - £2.50

12 Mars Bars – 24p – 12 Mars Bars - £7.32

Two pints of bitter – 22p – Two pints of bitter - £5.90

When people reach the grand age of 80, an extra bit of money gets placed into pensioners’ accounts, known as the age addition payment.

Since 1971 this has been set at 25p a week per pensioner. While 41 years ago this could have afforded a sack of coal and a dozen eggs for the household, these days it leaves many OAPs wondering what they can actually buy with it.

Chairman Ken Lacey is now eager to find out why this part of the pension has not been included in the annual inflation increases.

Mr Lacey said: “I’ve heard the age addition payment called ludicrous, insulting and humiliating.

“Forty-one years ago you could buy many things for 25p but what can you buy today? Not even a packet of Polos and it would take more than two weeks to purchase a stamp.”

In 1971 the payment represented about four per cent of the basic state pension. Mr Lacey said if it had been increased by the original percentage figure it would be worth £4 today and as a result he has put together two simple questions to Mr Penrose to pass on to the secretary of state for work and pensions, Iain Duncan Smith.

He wants to know; why was the payment not included in the annual inflation increase? And could the minister please list the items which could be purchased today with the payment?

Mr Lacey said: “I want to see if Mr Penrose can dig out some answers from the minister.

“We have seen changes in support services and savings and it is not going to get any better. We really do have to stand our corner.”


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