Statement from David Willetts, Shadow Social Security Secretary, on the launch on 'Common Sense for Pensioners. Mr Willetts said:
"We are publishing this morning our manifesto, Common Sense for Pensioners. It shows how we Conservatives respect and value pensioners. We offer them better health and long term care, we offer them safer communities and we offer them improvements to the transport they need.
"We also set out the first pension up-rating of the next Conservative government. Pensioners under 75 will receive an increase of £3 if they are single and £4.80 if they are married. We will give bigger increases for pensioners aged over 75 of £4 and £6.80. We know that older pensioners tend to be poorer so this increase is well targeted without trapping pensioners in more of Labour's complicated means tests.
"Under the next Conservative government pensioners will continue to receive the special payments such as the winter fuel allowance and the free TV licence. But they will be given an option which they do not have now so that if they wish the value of the special payments can be delivered as a tax free increase to their basic pension. This will be particularly worthwhile for those pensioners that Labour have forgotten about and do not receive the special payments.
"The independent Institute for Fiscal Studies have analysed the total effect of our tax and benefit changes. They show an average net gain of £4.32 a week for single pensioners and £8.77 for pensioner couples. We can promise with confidence that pensioners will be better off under the Conservatives.
"But pensioners don't just think about pounds and pence. They fought to give us the freedom and worked to give us the prosperity we enjoy today. Labour may say there is "no mileage" in pensioners. We Conservatives believe they are entitled to respect and dignity."