Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) has accused shadow chancellor Ed Balls of “playing politics” with pensions, following his statement at the weekend that a future Labour government would cap spending on the state pension.
Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “Ed Balls has made a fundamental error of judgement in suggesting that state pensions are just another benefit in the general scheme of welfare spending. Everyone knows that you only receive a state pension if you have paid national insurance for at least 30 years. This contributory principle means that it’s not a benefit, but an entitlement. The suggestion that the state pension must therefore be capped or cut means that in future pensioners will see their limited incomes fall even further behind the rest of society. Britain already has one of the least adequate state pensions in Europe, with one in five older people living in poverty. This idea will only make that situation worse. Labour needs to make it very clear that the state pension will continue to go up in line with wages, inflation or 2.5% or else risk losing a lot of pensioners’ votes with another 75p-style debacle.”