The latest jobs and inflation figures were announced last week. Local unemployment is down by 749 in south Manchester since this time last year, and stands at 2.8%, down from 4.4% in May 2010.
The inflation rate fell to 1.2% from 1.5%, due, according to the Office of National Statistics, to lower energy, transport and food costs.
Both these measure help the whole economy, but are especially good for the 1,171,155 pensioners in the North West.
That is because pensioners are to get a 2.5 per cent increase in their state pension next year thanks to the Liberal Democrats’ Triple Lock guarantee.
The Triple Lock guarantee, introduced thanks to the Liberal Democrats in Government, means that pensions will increase with inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent – whichever is highest – every year. The most that a pensioner can currently get is £113.10, so that should rise by £2.83 to £115.93.
This is £18.30 more, each week, than in 2010 when the Liberal Democrats entered coalition. This means pensioners on the full basic state pension are £950 a year better off than they were under Labour.
In the 1980’s, when the Tories were in power alone, they ended the link between earnings and pensions. When Labour were in power, they insulted pensioners with a 75p increase, and shamefully failed to restore the link.
We are also giving people more control over their own money, giving savers more freedom over how they take a tax-free lump sum from their pension pot.
As Liberal Democrats we believe people should have more choice as to how they spend their own money. I have been campaigning on this issue for at least 15 years.
Under current rules, from the age of 55, people can take 25% of pension savings as a tax-free lump sum. But future savers will be able to dip into their pension pot when they want, or when they need to – with 25% of what they take out each time tax-free.
I am proud that pensioners will be getting extra money in their pocket and being given more choice about how they spend their pensions. Delivered by the Liberal Democrats in government.