In 2016 Labour managed to break a generation-long freeze in pensions. For the first time, pensions were increased by more than the cost-of-living-allowance (COLA). Initially, the increases were focused on those on the minimum pension and on widows. Then in the 2017 electoral campaign, Labour promised to increase all pensions by €8 during a legislature. This was over and above the COLA.
In the past, any increase in pensions would have been taxed. Many pensioners would have lost at least 15% of any increase they were granted. This is no longer the case. Pensions are no longer taxed, and gradually even employment income earned by pensioners will not be taxed.
During the pandemic, pensioners not only received what had been promised to them, but they were also even given more. In its manifesto for the next five years, Labour is continuing pressing forward down this path. Pensioners will now receive at least an increase of €15 per week. On top of this, there will not just be the usual COLA but also the increase granted under the new mechanism that is being put in place.
Pensioners will now receive at least
an increase of €15 per week.
This means that by 2027 every pensioner will have been granted an additional income of €2,340. An additional social investment of €240 million in pensions. This is double the increase that was pledged in the 2017 Labour manifesto.
But increasing income is only one part of Labour’s strategy for pensioners. Most pensioners spend more on medicines than other groups in our society. On average about €300 every year. When he ran for leader of the Labour Party, Robert Abela pledged that he would work towards a future where pensioners would get all medicines for free. Now in this manifesto, this pledge will become reality. This will mean another €120 million to boost the purchasing power of pensioners.
These two measures by themselves, and there will be others to be announced to benefit pensioners, will mean that pensioners will have received, on average, support equal to €3,8400 over a legislature.
Yet, for some pensioners, Labour will do more. Up to now when a pensioner dies, their partner qualifies for just five-sixths of his or her pension. That is unless they themselves had a pension in their own right.
Labour is now proposing to do away with this distinction. A pension from now on will be inherited in full by the person’s partner. Widows and widowers will no longer lose a sixth of their partners’ pension. Now they will receive, on average, an increase of €30 per week. Over a legislature, this translates into increased support of €50 million.
Pensioners can truly look forward to a better future with Labour.