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Last Updated: Saturday, 18 March 2006, 17:08 GMT
Views canvassed on pension crisis
Strong feelings have been stirred in the debate
Members of the public have been giving their views on radical pension reform plans at a meeting in Glasgow.

More than 1,000 people have attended six events across the UK to coincide with National Pensions Day.

They have been examining ideas such as raising retirement age and whether the state pension should be more generous.

Work and Pensions minister and Stirling MP Anne McGuire hosted the Glasgow event. She said it gave people the chance to help develop pensions policy.

The UK Government is formulating legislation for its forthcoming White Paper on pensions, to be published later this spring.

Ms McGuire said: "We need to build up a consensus about how we actually plan for the future.

"That's why events such as today in Glasgow and across the rest of the country are so vital."

The pension costs of local authorities are some 25% of budget, so if you are wondering where your council tax increase is going, look no further
Gareth Thomas, St Andrews

Each audience was hearing speeches, watching a video presentation from Lord Turner, who led the Pensions Commission, and had the chance to ask questions.

The Department for Work and Pensions said the information gleaned from the meetings would be analysed and taken into account while formulating the new laws.

General Secretary of the National Pensioners' Convention, Joe Harris, said plans had focused on future generations but something needed to be done for today's 11 million pensioners as well.

"Over 2.5 million older people are currently living below the poverty line, millions of women only receive a pension of around 50 a week and yet 2.3 billion in means-tested benefits goes unclaimed," he said.

The National Pensioners' Convention also called for a raise in the basic state pension by 30 to at least 114 a week.

The audiences at the meetings were selected by market research firm Opinion Leader Research.

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