Security in retirement essential

Text in Gazette and Herald (13 November 14):

Michelle Donelan, who is campaigning to be our next Member of Parliament, has said that giving pensioners greater security in retirement is one of her key pledges to Wiltshire if she is elected in May.

She has vowed to protect universal benefits as well as campaigning for a reduction in inheritance tax, allowing us to pass our savings onto loved ones after we are gone.

Michelle said: “I believe it is our moral obligation to ensure that when people reach retirement, they can have dignity and security in their old age. People who have worked hard, who have done the right thing, who have provided for their families and paid into the system all their lives should know they will get a decent state pension and they don’t have to worry about lagging behind prices or earnings.”

The state pension will continue to rise by at least 2.5% a year if the Conservatives win the next General Election, pledged Prime Minister David Cameron, talking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr show.

The Liberal Democrats and Labour Party failed to back the plans, seemingly preferring to reduce pensions to pay higher welfare benefits.

Giving residents’ security in retirement is a key pledge that Michelle Donelan has made to Wiltshire if she is elected to serve as the next Member of Parliament for the Chippenham constituency next May. It forms part of Michelle’s clear long-term plan for the area.

“Supporting people in their retirement is absolutely vital to me,” said Michelle. “I am campaigning for a reduction in inheritance tax, allowing us to pass on savings to loved ones and to ensure that local care homes get the support and regulation necessary to keep our most vulnerable elderly safe. More investment into Dementia research and care is also personal goal of mine. It’s a disease that devastates lives and most people I speak with have known someone who has suffered.”

Michelle wants an even greater focus on investment to fund the research to reduce the effects of the disease. It is estimated that by 2015 there will be 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025 and 2 million by 2051. Michelle’s commitment to tackling the problems has been welcomed by local residents and campaign groups.

Michelle has also strongly backed the Conservative plans for pensions for life for military spouses who remarry. As of April 1st next year, the Conservatives will ensure that those who already receive a survivor’s pension will be allowed to keep their pension for life if they do remarry, cohabit or form a civil partnership. Around 4,000 people, mostly widows who lost partners between 1973 and 2005 during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, or the wars in the Falklands and Iraq will benefit.

Michelle said: “At a time when we focus on the many thousands who have lost their lives to protect our nation, it is right that we do all we can to support the loved ones they have left behind.”