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Newcastle upon Tyne Liberal Democrats

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Labour government fiddling the figures on pensioner poverty

July 27, 2009 11:00 AM

Lib Dem spokesman for Newcastle East Greg Stone has spoken out against Government manipulation of figures on pensioner poverty.

A European Commission report shows that the UK has the fourth highest rate of pensioner poverty in the EU, showing that one in three over-65s are living in relative poverty - the same level as in Lithuania. However the Government claims that pensioner income levels have risen to 10% above the EU average today, after having been well below the EU average in 1997.

Greg Stone said "This is an extremely cynical attempt to fiddle the figures. In 1997 the EU had 15 members from wealthier northern and western European states, but today it has 27 including poorer eastern European states. The EU average has dropped considerably as a result. This does not equate to progress."

"I want to see the forthcoming Work and Pensions select committee report into pensioner poverty produce recommendations that will address issues such as the cost of care and the cost of fuel."