Honouring pensioners all year round

Westminster Council is promoting the idea of Silver Sunday; a day to honour older people, in the same way that Mothering Sunday honours mothers.

As their website explains, “It is proposed that Silver Sunday will take place every year on the first Sunday in October, this year on Sunday 5th October. The date will complement the newly adopted United Nations ‘Older People’s Day’ initiative, to take place in the first week in October, and the launch of Age Concern’s ‘Grandparents’ Day’, both of which aim to involve young people across the land in celebrating and valuing our older people.”

No harm in that. But pensioners deserve more than an annual greetings card moment. And that needs action elsewhere in Westminster.

This year marks the centenary of Lloyd George’s “people’s budget” and the foundation of the pension. For the first time, the state would guarantee an income for people too old to work, giving financial security for the poorest pensioners.

Since then, that pension has been eroded. First the Conservatives broke the link with earnings; then Labour reneged on plans to let women pensioners catch up on years of missed earnings. It’s shameful that women and carers, who take time out of earning for themselves to care for others, get penalised by Labour’s pension rules.

At our recent party conference, Liberal Democrats celebrated the achievement in setting up the old age pension; but we also looked forward.

We are demanding a restoration of the link with earnings; a citizen’s pension based on residency not just contributions; and the end of mass means-testing of pensioners, so people get the full benefits of the extra savings they’ve made.

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