The coalition agreement: pensions and older people

Welcome to the fifteenth in a series of posts going through the full coalition agreement section by section. You can read the full coalition document here.

The story of this section in a nutshell is “short term good news, long term uncertainty”. In the short term pensions will get a good deal: “We will restore the earnings link for the basic state pension from April 2011, with a ‘triple guarantee’ that pensions are raised by the higher of earnings, prices of 2.5%”. This is a more generous deal, and sooner, than Labour proposed in their manifesto.

There is also a promise to “implement the Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman’s recommendations to make fair and transparent payments to Equitable Life policy holders”, greater flexibility over how people can use their pension funds, pledges to protect the winter fuel allowance, free TV licenses, free bus travel, free eye tests and prescriptions and a simplification of the rules to encourage more occupational pensions.

That’s the good news. The doubts come from a promised review of the date at which the state pension starts and a commission to review the long-term affordability of public sector pensions.

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