Pension age proposals must be resisted: Hughes

Councillor Kerri Hughes
Councillor Kerri Hughes

SDLP Cookstown Councillor Kerri Hughes has said that plans to raise the pension age from 67 to 75 revealed by a Tory think tank at the weekend may improve Whitehall budget lines but it will condemn thousands into poverty in their old age.

She said that the proposals, made by those who will never have to worry about money, must be resisted.

Cllr Hughes said: “These plans revealed by a Think Tank chaired by one of the principle architects of Tory welfare reforms are all about clearing poor people off the government’s balance sheet. Raising the pension age from 67 to 75 would condemn thousands of hard working people to poverty in their older age and it should be resisted.

"In Northern Ireland, 14% of pensioners already live in absolute poverty. A study due to be presented this week demonstrates that older people here and in Britain suffer some of the worst rates of poverty in Western Europe. And we know that in many communities, life expectancy is lower than this proposed pension age. We should be doing more to deliver financial security for older people, not telling them they have to work themselves to death before they’ll ever see their pension.

“We know that a no-deal Brexit, which will deliver food, fuel and medicine shortages as well as increased prices for consumers, will hit vulnerable older people hardest. We are fast approaching the point where we’ll force an entire generation into poverty and despair. It cannot happen.”