Guernsey Press

Interim pension increase is welcome – Age Concern

AGE Concern members would welcome an interim increase in pension rates, following proposals submitted by Employment & Social Security this week.

Mary Gallienne, left, and Lyn Olliver at Age Concern’s meeting at Styx Centre to talk with members about the proposed interim increase in pension rates. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 31906645)

If approved, the full States pension will go up by £7.26 to £257.48 a week from 3 July until 31 December at a cost of about £2.25m., as part of a temporary boost to a range of social benefits. Policy & Resources has objected to the plans, saying that any uplift would put too much pressure on the States’ finances.

Age Concern chairman David Inglis said that he thought ESS president Peter Roffey was right in putting forward the proposals.

‘It’s frustrating because P&R is able to spend £600,000 on its GST campaign, but says it isn’t able to afford £2m. to help those whose pensions are being affected by price rises,’ he said.

‘I struggle to understand its thought process.’

Age Concern’s Vale centre manager Rosie Henderson said that she would support an interim increase, but was worried that a rise in social benefit would create a culture of dependency.

‘The cakes that I buy for our meetings have nearly doubled in price, so it’s affected us somewhat.

‘However, anything that is introduced shouldn’t be wasteful, as giving more to those who don’t necessarily need it doesn’t make sense, especially as the States are skint,’ she said.

Mrs Henderson added if any members were to voice concerns, then they would be addressed at meetings in the near future.

‘It’s about helping those people who are genuinely in need.

‘It’s becoming difficult to predict exactly what will happen next,’ she said.

Lyn Olliver, who was attending an Age Concern meeting at Styx in St Peter’s, said that while any potential pension uplift would help, she would be surprised if the proposals were passed through the States.

‘Lately I’ve really felt a squeeze,’ she said.

‘Bills have gone up and maintenance costs for my house are higher. But I just don’t think the States have the money to do it.’

Another member, who did not wish to be named, was also not expecting the proposals to be accepted.

‘The States keep saying they’re short of money, so I don’t see it happening, but I certainly wouldn’t complain if it did,’ she said, adding that discussions regarding pension concerns had never taken place at Age Concern meetings previously.