Pensioner groups urge Government to adopt Tory plan

Pensioners' rights groups have called on the government to follow the lead of the Conservative Party, which this week announced that it would increase the basic state pension in line with average earnings if it was returned to power.

The policy, announced at the start of its conference, reverses Margaret Thatcher's 1980 decision to break the link between the basic pension and earnings. It contrasts with the Government's new means-tested Pension Credit, designed to help the poorest pensioners, which came into effect this week.

"The fact the scheme is means-tested means people have to say 'I'm poor, please give me more money', which is undignified," said Mervyn Kohler, head of public affairs at Help the Aged. "However, it is worth up to £2bn, so we will be encouraging people to apply."

See Conference Special, p5.

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