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"Restore The Link"
Explained

For the benefit of those who do not understand this policy, let me spell it out.

No organised group of pensioners has ever advocated: 'Rather than vote Labour, they should not vote at all.'   What is proposed is that "EVERY candidate should be given an opportunity to pledge to support the demand of the pensioner movement to 'restore the link with average earnings' before and after they are elected to office"  

The pledge can be in the form of a letter or a signature on a form.  Any candidate, regardless of whether they are 'party' sponsored or independent, who refuses to give this pledge, cannot really expect to get the vote of Senior citizens  This is a just demand for restoration of what has been stolen from us. It should be implemented now, not when our generation has shuffled off this mortal coil. Tony Booth suggests that - rather than withholding or spoiling your vote - go "en masse" to the polling booths to vote - show just how strong the Pensioners Movement can be!

 
"Restore The Link"

What is the Link? 

The 1974 the Labour government noted that the State Retirement Pension had declined in value relative to workers wages to such an extent that over 2 million pensioners were in receipt of means-tested benefits. Barbara Castle, as the Social Security Minister, gave pensioners a 26% increase in the State Retirement Pension to restore its relative value, and in order that it maintained this relativity, and to ensure that pensioners shared in the increasing prosperity of the nation, established the link with average earnings. Under this arrangement the State Retirement Pension was increased annually either in line with the rise in average earnings or in line with the Retail Price Index, whichever was the greatest.

Who broke the Link?

In 1980 the newly elected Tory government started to implement a long term strategy to cut existing state pensions on a softly-softly basis and in that year broke the link with average earnings, which had the effect of putting the State Retirement Pension in terminal decline, or in Peter Lilley's words, causing it to "wither-on-the-vine". Year by year the State Retirement Pension declined relative to average earnings but because it was a long-term strategy, which workers generally had no knowledge of, it did not provoke what would have been an expected outrage. 

As average earnings went up faster than the cost of living, Pensioners found themselves being left further and further behind in the 'sharing out of the wealth of the nation'. Since that system was introduced in 1980, a single pensioner finds him/herself £29.95 a week worse off while a couple have 'lost' £47.90 a week.

Will the Labour Government put it right?

Before the last election they promised to do so but as yet show no signs of delivering that promise. In any event the Labour Party had accepted a commitment to restore the average earnings link when returned to office, and to make a start towards restoring the value of the State Retirement Pension which had been lost under the Tories. Against this background the pensioners movement welcomed the electoral victory of Labour in the 1997 general election. 

However they were soon to be disillusioned when, after two years of a so-called 'Pensions Review', the New Labour Government announced its pensions policy, which was more right-wing than the Thatcher Governments, and made no significant concessions to the problems facing today's and tomorrow's pensioners. As a result of government policy over 20 years, 17 years under the Conservatives and 3 years under New Labour, pension provision in Britain is in deep crisis. 

Both parties believe that the responsibility for pension provision should in future be shouldered by workers as individuals, with government providing a safety net for those whose earnings are too low to provide even a very modest pension. We want the link restored along with our dignity and a fair share in the country's prosperity.

 

 

 
 

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