NARPO: Commenting on the Budget

The National Association of Retired Police Officers (NARPO) says that there is nothing in the proposals for older people.

Lasts year’s budget changes reducing income tax bands by eradicating the 10p lower tax band will come into effect during this tax year. This means that those on an income of less than £15,000.00 per annum are likely to suffer an increased tax burden before any of this year’s measures are taken into account. This reduction in income will affect not only the poorest in our communities but a considerable number of our members as well as some other retiring public servants.

NARPO are also concerned about the general plight of those on pensions and feel that the increase in winter fuel allowance is no substitute for an adequate state pension. The time has surely come for Government to give a real commitment to raise all those on state pension now, to at least a point above recognised poverty levels. It is a disgrace that Britain, amongst the richest and most successful nations in the world, continue to have a state pension amongst the least generous in Europe. Current proposal on pensions will not affect those currently on a pension who are struggling with increases in costs of all the very basic needs for a comfortable life in old age.

NARPO also believe that it is an anomaly in current tax provisions that those who have made an effort to provide an additional income into their old age are penalised by the offset of the ‘old age’ tax allowance at the relatively low current figure, which is well below national average earnings. This is a kick in the teeth to those who have been prudent and made additional provisions for later life.

The position of British old age pensioners abroad is also of continuing concern to NARPO. It has got to be a national disgrace that those who chose to retire to the most popular of Commonwealth countries, many to be with family or for health reasons, are penalised by the current system, which freezes the state pension they receive and does not provide the same annual increase as British pensioners resident in Europe and many other countries outside the Commonwealth.

At a time when the National Insurance Fund is showing record surpluses, the Government should have given serious consideration to all these issues.

David Anderton, the President of NARPO said, ‘This is definitely not a budget for the older person. With food, fuel and council tax rises well above the Government inflation figure and in some cases additional tax burdens on the poorer in society, many pensioners will be struggling even to maintain their current standard of living. It must be time for the Government to raise basic pension levels and give real consideration to providing adequate support to the old.’