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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 February, 2005, 12:24 GMT
Nationalists pitch for grey vote
Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond
The SNP has placed pensioners at the heart of its campaign
The Scottish National Party (SNP) has launched a manifesto for pensioners in an attempt to attract the grey vote in the upcoming General Election.

The Nationalists plan to introduce a non-means tested citizen's pension, scrap the council tax and maintain local health services.

Deputy leader Nicola Sturgeon said: "You can trust the SNP to restore dignity to Scotland's pensioners."

She said the value of the state pension had dropped by a third since the 1980s.

The manifesto, which was launched on Saturday, features a silver-haired old woman who is clutching a small purse and has "2nd Class" stamped on her care-worn brow.

With independence, no pensioner in Scotland will be treated like a second-class citizen
Nicola Sturgeon
SNP deputy leader

Speaking in Glasgow, Ms Sturgeon accused Labour of reneging on a promise to restore the value of the state pension's link with earnings.

"We will restore the earnings link and make sure that every pensioner has a decent amount to live on," she said. "Voters should contrast our policy with the other parties.

"Labour want to means-test all pensioners, the Lib Dems want you to wait until you are 75, and the anti-Scottish Tories are only offering help to English pensioners.

"With independence, no pensioner in Scotland will be treated like a second-class citizen. If pensions matter to you, make them matter in May."

The Westminster poll is expected to take place on 5 May and the Nationalists believe they can take six seats.

The SNP said it would end means testing and pay a citizen's pension of at least 110 for single pensioners and 168 for couples.

The party has five seats at Westminster, but that would drop to four under boundary changes which will reduce the number of Scottish seats from 72 to 59.





SEE ALSO:
SNP election strategy put forward
25 Jan 05 |  Scotland
SNP activists in election summit
02 Oct 04 |  Scotland
Labour's time over, says Salmond
24 Sep 04 |  Scotland
Sturgeon seeks 'radical' agenda
22 Sep 04 |  Scotland


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