These are clearly difficult times. Today sees the largest strike in the UK in some 30 years over the issue of public sector pension reform. At the same time, the economic winds are turning decidedly chilly.
But there was good news in the autumn statement made in Parliament yesterday.
In particular, as a Councillor in a ward with a high number of retired local residents, I was very pleased to see an uplift in the State Pension by £5.30 a week from April 2012, delivering its single largest ever cash increase. The pension credit standard minimum guarantee will increase by 3.9 per cent in April 2012 to ensure poorest pensioners also benefit from the triple guarantee. This equates to an annual increase per person in the state pension of £275.60.
This of course compares particularly favourably to that infamous Labour Government increase in the State Pension of just 75p.
Here in Cardigan, a total of some 1,090 pensioners will benefit from the increase - to the total tune of £300,404 a year. Across Ceredigion more widely, 17,150 pensioners will benefit to a total of £4,726,540.
The mark of a society many will argue can be demonstrated in how it treats those who have contributed to it for their entire lives, and now depend on it in for support following retirement. With ever increasing energy costs, life is not getting easier, but this uplift of £275.60 a year per pensioner, shows them a great deal of respect and living in a town with a large number of pensionable age, I am pleased that they will righly benefit from the new Triple Lock that guarantees them a fair increase in their State Pension.