Page last updated at 11:27 GMT, Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Debate on pensioner poverty

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Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson urged the government to restore the link between the state pension and earnings as soon as possible, in a debate in Westminster Hall on 23 February 2010.

Ms Swinson said that, at about £97 a week, the UK basic state pension was among the lowest in the world, adding: "It isn't enough to achieve a standard of living that most people would find acceptable".

The East Dunbartonshire MP, who said pensioners were one of the most vulnerable and deserving groups in society, said upping the level of the state pension would eliminate the need for the "complex" pension credit system.

Ms Swinson said many elderly people did not claim pension credit because of the lengthy and complicated forms that needed to be filled out, or because they were not aware they were entitled to it.

The MP also called for the "unfair" default retirement age to be abolished.

Pensions Minister Angela Eagle said there were about 900,000 fewer pensioners living in poverty now than when Labour came to power in 1997.

She said pension credit had made a "big difference" to the lives of 3.3m elderly people who receive it.

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