Page last updated at 12:21 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 13:21 UK

Green Party urges 170 pension in Devon launch

All the main parties would review retirement ages if elected

The Green Party has launched its Older People's Pledge in Devon, calling for a state pension to go up to £170 a week.

It said the rise, up from £97.65, would ease strain on the NHS by preventing ill health.

The Greens pledged to end the compulsory retirement age, so people have the freedom to continue working.

The South West has the highest percentage of pensioners in the UK according to the latest regional trends survey.

The party said it would pay for most of the the increase, which will cost £110bn a year, through ending pensioner benefits like Pensions Credits which would "become redundant" after the rise.

The Office for National Statistics found that 22% of the region's population is made up of pensioners in 2008.

'Cost savings'

The Green Party also said pensioners would benefit from warmer homes because of free home insulation and as a result be less reliant on winter fuel payments.

Corinne Lindsey, the party's parliamentary candidate for Newton Abbot, said: "After a lifetime of hard work and contributing to society, pensioners deserve better than having to scrape by on an inadequate state pension.

"It's only fair that the basic state pension should be enough to live on - that is why Greens would make sure that all pensioners receive a non-means-tested £170 per week, as well as free social care for all who need it, as is currently offered in Scotland."

It would also abolish tax relief on pension contributions and the national insurance rebate on employer and employee contributions to private pension schemes.

Labour has pledged to review the retirement age, looking at allowing people to retire later if they wish to and to re-link the basic state pension to earnings in 2012.

The Liberal Democrats would re-link the basic state pension to earnings and remove the compulsory retirement age.

The Conservatives would raise the basic state pension in line with earnings and review the state pension age.

The candidates standing for the Newton Abbot constituency are: Labour: Patrick Canavan; Conservative: Anne Marie Morris; Liberal Democrats: Richard Younger-Ross; UK Independence Party: Jackie Hooper; Green Party: Corinne Lindsey.

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