According to the Liberal Democrats Party website the Liberal Democrats Party will try to achieve the following if they gain power at the 2010 general election:
The current pension system is unfair; the basic state pension is too low and it discriminates against women and carers who take time out of work. 2.1 million pensioners live in poverty in the UK today and 2 out of 3 of pensioners are forced to claim benefits to make ends meet. We will immediately restore the earnings link to the state pension so that pensioners share in the growing wealth of the nation
We want to help people get and keep jobs that can give them a decent standard of living, as well as ensuring that no-one already in work lives in poverty. We will reform Tax Credits to end the unpredictability of the system which has left millions of families struggling to make repayments for the Government’s mistakes.
Introduce a Citizen’s Pension – We will immediately restore the earnings link to the state pension so that pensioners share in the growing wealth of the nation. We will also work to create a Citizen’s Pension within 2 parliaments that is set at a more generous level and based on residency not outdated National Insurance contributions which penalises women and carers disproportionately. This will take over a third of pensioners off means-testing, ensuring that private saving is worthwhile for everybody.
Reform the Tax Credit system – We will return to fixed term awards of six months to end the fluctuations and bureaucracy in the present Tax Credits system which cause repeated over and under-payments. This will end the uncertainty that this causes for millions of families each year.
Reform back to work support for the unemployed – The New Deal puts too many people on unnecessary or ineffective employment schemes rather than into real jobs. Rather than continuing with the one size fits all policy, we will tailor assistance to meet the individual needs and aspirations of jobseekers so that they get the package of support they need to get back into sustainable employment.
Provide more support for people with disabilities – We will help severely disabled people of working age with their fuel bills by giving them the same £200 a year Winter Fuel Payment that pensioners receive.
Fuel poverty, green solutions – 5 million and rising households live in fuel poverty – that is, they have to spend 10% of their income on heating. If we are to improve the lives of the poorest in society, we must reduce fuel costs by improving energy efficiency. This will also play a major role in reducing the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions. We will subsidise home insulation to cut heating costs and we will ensure that energy utility companies no longer penalise the poor by ending differential pricing and increasing social tariffs.
I would be interested to hear both positive and negative views on Liberal Democrats Pensions and Benefits policies in the comments below?