I recognise the contribution pensioners have made, and continue to make, to British society. I believe we must ensure that you have the security and dignity in your retirement, which is why I wholeheartedly welcome the work of SAVED (usap), supporting so many elderly and disabled residents here in the Stroud Valleys and the Vale. Since 2010, important steps have been taken to support older people. A triple lock on the State Pension has been introduced, which ensures that the basic State Pension increases every year by the highest of earnings, prices or 2.5 per cent. As a result of this, the State Pension has increased by £800 since 2010.
A new pensioner bond is being created by National Savings that will offer retired savers a return that is better than anything pensioners can get now. Alongside this, from April 2015 millions of people on Defined Contribution schemes will no longer have to buy an annuity if they don’t want to and there will be no punitive 55 per cent tax rate if you want to draw down more than your tax free lump sum.
Importantly, people who have worked hard and saved all their lives will now be able to pass on their hard-earned pension pot tax-free. Together, these crucial changes will help to increase the economic security of pensioners.As you MP I have continued to protect universal benefits, including Winter Fuel Payments, bus passes and TV licences, for the duration of this parliament. Cold Weather Payments have also been increased and the Warm Home Discount introduced to provide vulnerable pensioners with an £135 rebate on their energy bills. Locally I have been working to ensure that our local Post Offices are protected and modernised, including new improved services at Hardwicke and Caincross, and I will continue to fight for continuing rural bus services.I do hope you find this update helpful and please contact my constituency office on 01453 751572 for any individual help you may need.