AddThis SmartLayers

Tony answers the Herald Express

The Prime Minister has written for the Herald Express in a response to the Torquay paper’s campaign to win Justice for Pensioners.

Almost 5,000 readers signed a petition calling for pensions to be linked to earnings.

Editor Brendan Hanrahan wrote to Tony Blair to explain the campaign and the reason for the newspaper’s involvement.

The campaign has captured the imagination of South Devon people and the Herald Express says it continues to deliver its promise to take the pensioners’ call to the very top.

In his reply Mr Blair said he was pleased to see the campaign for a fairer deal for pensioners, and pleased to have his chance to respond.

He wrote: “It’s an issue, I know, of real importance here in South Devon.

“So let me say straight away that I know we must do more for pensioners – and I promise Herald Express readers that we will.

“As I said in my conference speech: we’ve got the message loud and clear.”

He explained how pensioners had seen their incomes rise faster than any other section of the population in the last 20 years but the gap between the richest and poorest pensioners was the biggest for 40 years. For that reason the Government was making the poorest pensioners its priority, he said.

He said the minimum income guarantee meant the poorest were more than £8 a week better off, something which would not have happened with a simple earnings link.

He was aware of the anger over the 75p a week pensions rise but asked readers not to forget the £150 winter fuel allowance, the scrapping of eye test fees, cut in fuel VAT and the free TV licences.

He wrote: “Yes we are listening. And yes, we need to do more.

“But I don’t believe the best way to tackle the real problem of pensioner poverty is to give the same help to the wealthiest as we do the poorest.”

The Herald Express petition calls for a relinking of pension rises with average earnings, not inflation, and for pensioners to be treated with dignity.

Do you have a story for us?
Ring the HoldTheFrontPage newsdesk on
01332 291111 x6022, or to e-mail us now – click here