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A petition calling for a Minimum Pension Guarantee (MPG) has gained substantial traction after being posted on the official Parliament website. Express.co.uk spoke to Dennis Reed, Director at Silver Voices, who started the petition.
He said: “At least £200 per week for all pensioners is a policy which has been very popular recently.
“We recently conducted a poll on our own members, and we received 99 percent support for this policy.
“I think you could say, from that evidence, that is is not controversial amongst older people!”
The petition calls for the guarantee to be set for all, irrespective of gender, marital status or contribution record.
It argues this would remove anomalies in the pension system and create fairness for retirees.
Mr Reed continued: “It’s something which we believe the time is right for.
“We need to focus on the basic level of the state pension. The purpose is to hold the Government’s feet to the fire on the low level of the older state pension in this country.
“The petition concentrates attention on the level of support needed for the basic state pension, rather than all these pots of one-off payments agreed at the moment.
“These will soon be gobbled up by inflation, and they are not an ongoing amount. While an extra £300 is welcome, what happens next year when inflation is still high?
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“We ought to be looking at increasing the state pension instead.”
In this sense, the petition also has another aim: highlighting the difference between the old and new state pensions.
The basic state pension is available to men born before April 6, 1951 and women born before April 6, 1953 – and is worth £141.85 per week at its full level.
The new state pension is for men born on or after April 6, 1951 and women born on or after April 6, 1953, with the full amount at £185.15 weekly.
Some may get less than the full new state pension if they were contracted out before April 6, 2016.
Many pensioners, including the Silver Voices campaign group, are dissatisfied at what they describe as an unfair gap between older and younger pensioners.
Mr Reed continued: “The second objective of the petition? We need to do something about the growing and scandalous gap between the old state pension and the new state pension.
“The gap grows each year because of the way in which percentage benefits rises work. It’s now a glaring £43 per week difference, and as we discovered, only six percent of state pensioners get the top rate of the new state pension.
“Whereas, 87 percent of state pensioners get the old basic rate or less – £142 per week. In the current climate, that really doesn’t stretch anywhere and people need more support.”
Mr Reed has claimed a £200 per week payment for all pensioners would be a “reasonable response” in the face of the cost of living crisis.
If successful, it would mean all pensioners receive a substantial boost, regardless of the amount of National Insurance contributions they have made.
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The petition states any higher pensions should not be affected.
Stressing the popularity of the idea, Mr Reed added: “The only opposition I am getting is from a smaller number of older people who feel that £200 is not enough!”
The petition had gained at least 4,000 signatures within 24 hours of it first being posted on the Parliament website.
Within days, it surged past the 10,000 signatures required for an official Government response.
Mr Reed added: “I think it is going to be popular, as can be seen from the initial momentum. I’m encouraged by the response.
“We’re keen for the Government to respond to this. If there is going to be resistance, which we think will happen at least initially, then we want the Government to clearly set out its logic as to why.”
Commenting on the petition, a DWP spokesperson previously told Express.co.uk: “The Government is committed to ensuring that pensioners are able to live with the dignity and respect they deserve, and the state pension is the foundation of state support for older people.
“The full yearly amount of the basic state pension is now over £2,300 higher than in 2010, and there were 400,000 fewer pensioners in absolute poverty after housing costs in 2020/21 than in 2009/10.”
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