Home > News > Llanelli Star Column…..on the struggle facing pensioners in the cost of living crisis and how they can be helped.

Two million pensioners, nearly one in five, now live in poverty.

That is an absolutely shocking statistic and why Keir Starmer confirmed recently that the State Pension Triple Lock will be held firmly in place if Labour forms the next UK Government.

Everyone deserves financial security in retirement.  The cornerstone of that is a decent State Pension which retains its value for future generations of pensioners.

Back in 2019, The Tories made a promise they would keep the Triple Lock – that the State Pension would rise every year by the highest of either inflation, 2.5% or average earnings. However, just two years later, they ditched it for 2022/23, leaving pensioners behind the curve yet again.

Pensioners have also been hit hard by the tax burden, at its highest in 70 years, and the Tories’ decision to freeze tax thresholds.

These freezes represent one of the biggest stealth taxes in modern British history dragging nearly four million more into paying income tax. It means taxpaying pensioners will be around £1,000 worse off on average, with many paying tax out of their fixed income for the first time.

Rishi Sunak has also set out an ambition of abolishing National Insurance contributions (NICs), without setting out how to pay for it. In practice, this would either leave a £46 billion black hole for funding state pensions and the NHS, or, if the plan is to merge income tax and NICs, see pensioners facing a tax increase that would wipe out gains from the triple lock over the last 14 years.

What we really need is a pension system that is sustainable and sufficient to meet the challenges of an ageing population. I remain passionately committed to campaigning for and delivering the dignity and support that our older generations need and deserve.