MP for Hornsey and Wood Green
Nearly 9,000 pensioners in Haringey face the loss of their long trusted pension books in a Government move being opposed by the local Lib Dems. Liberal Democrat councillors will today propose a motion in the Full Council meeting to oppose plans by the Government to phase out the pension book as a method of paying the pension.
Pension books, which are used by 8,626 older people in Haringey are to be ended by 2005 as the Government -imposed timetable of change takes affect. The Lib Dems are concerned that people who are happy with their pension books are being forced to change to alternatives that are both complicated and confusing.
The Government plans to replace the pension book with three alternative ways that the elderly can receive their pension:
* Into a normal bank or building society account
* Into a new basic bank account
* Through a new Post Office Card Account
Although the Lib Dems acknowledge that these are different services they are unhappy that the pension book is not being retained. They are also concerned about aspects of the alternative means of payment.
Highgate councillor Neil Williams, who is proposing the motion, is concerned about the complexity of the application process for the Card Account. He is also concerned about pensioners who forget their new card PIN numbers. There is currently no way that a pensioner can access their money without using a PIN.
Cllr Williams hopes to have the full support from both sides of the Council. He says that this motion’s aim is to ensure that the elderly do not have to worry about how to claim their pension.
Cllr Neil Williams (Highgate) comments:
“The Government has made a decision without assessing the worry and stress that these changes will have on many among our elderly population. Over 40% of pensioners in Haringey and over 50% nationally use the pension book. These are not changes that will effect a small minority, but a huge section of the community. I hope that the Labour group will support our motion and make the Government reconsider the implications of this change.”