11th April 2012
The average weekly state pension for 2012/13 has risen by £6 from £118 to £124 according to Government estimations following changes which came into effect last week.
The figures, which include both the basic and additional state pension (the basic state pension has increased from £102.15 to £107.45 a week), will cost the Treasury an additional £4.5 billion this year. The increases in payments come after inflation peaked at 5.2 per cent in September last year - the month when the uprating of pensions and benefits is set.
The Government was heavily criticised in last month's Budget after it said it was phasing out age-related income tax allowances, meaning that pensioners will pay more tax on their retirement income.
Commenting on the increase as 'proof of the Government's commitment to the elderly', Prime Minister David Cameron, said: "We owe older people in society our respect, our support and our care. That's why from the start I've made sure this government protects pensioners and gives them the help they need.
"We brought in the triple-lock to restore the link between pensions and earnings - guaranteeing the basic state pension rises by whichever is highest out of rises in prices, average earnings or 2.5%. Today we're delivering with 5.2% increase in the basic state pension, an extra £5.30 a week, the largest cash rise in history."
This year, the basic state pension will be calculated in-line with the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rather than the Retail Prices Index (RPI), although pension groups have criticised the move after the RPI recorded a higher inflation of 5.6 per cent in September.
Dot Gibson, general secretary for the National Pensioners Convention (NPC), said: "If the government hadn't changed the link with inflation from the Retail Price Index to the Consumer Price Index, the state pension would be going up by £5.70 a week rather than the £5.30 some pensioners
are getting or the £3.20 that millions of older women will get."
"Given the government's track record, the recent freeze on the age related tax allowance and the cut to the winter fuel payments, no-one's going to be fooled by any claim that Mr Cameron's government cares about the older generation."