Pledge to force banks to simplify and speed up ISA transfers
New Social Care Minister to be appointed
Cast-iron guarantee to restore the link between pensions and earnings in 2012
To view the full interview visit www.sagatv.co.uk
For the first time the Saga Generation will make up the majority of voters in the upcoming election, making them a crucial demographic to all political parties. Today saw the second in a series of exclusive Saga webchats with each of the three main party leaders, reflecting how seriously they are taking the power of the Saga Generation.
PM Gordon Brown was today held to account over the Labour party's plans for savings, pensions and care funding, to name but a few of the key issues raised by the over 50s.
PLEDGE 1: ISA SAVINGS
Hinting of an upcoming manifesto pledge, the Prime Minister revealed the Labour Party would force banks to simplify and speed up the transfer of ISA funds between providers to encourage competition and treat savers fairly. Senior No. 10 sources say the move is likely to be a key Labour manifesto pledge, part of a move to 'reinvent banking' after the credit crisis.
Saga understands savers will have a unique, portable ISA number. Transfers to better interest rates will be able to be made quickly and easily, a little like transferring phone service provider while keeping your phone number. They would also compel providers to pay interest from the moment funds were transferred.
Also, if re-elected, Labour would ensure that savers are explicitly told of interest rate changes on their account and what interest rate will be paid to them when introductory rates expire.
Paul Green, Head of Communications, Saga, commented: "Saga questioning has elicited potential good news for millions of ISA savers. Saga has been treating people properly by backdating interest on cash ISA to the application date and keeping them informed of rate changes. It is about time the major banks and other institutions stop scamming the savers of middle Britain and follow in Saga's footsteps."
PLEDGE 2: SOCIAL CARE
PM Gordon Brown also revealed that if re-elected he will appoint a Social Care Minister dedicated to driving through recommendations in the recent White Paper on paying for Social Care.
The good news is that this is an indication of the re-prioritising that all parties are having to engage with as they wake up to the repercussions of an ageing population.
The bad news is that is has taken so long and funding is so ill thought-through. The PM admitted that the much-publicised two years of free residential care outlined in the White Paper covered only nursing care and not accommodation costs. It was something that would "have to be looked at".
PLEDGE 3: PENSIONS
Gordon Brown also gave a cast-iron guarantee that the link between pensions and earnings will be restored in 2012 if Labour is returned to power at the election.
Since it was abolished by Mrs Thatcher in 1980, campaigners have battled for the link to be brought back. If it had not been scrapped, the basic state pension would now be £158.60 instead of its current £97.65.
Today, Mr Brown pledged that the link would be restored in 2012.
The Commission into pensions led by Lord Turner made this its top priority when it reported four years ago but the government resisted accepting the recommendation because of its high cost – well in excess of £1 billion a year.
All three main parties have subsequently said they wanted to restore the link but this is the first time Mr Brown has made an unequivocal commitment for a future Labour government.
Saga’s Paul Green comments: "All the parties have pledged to restore the link but this is the first time in this election campaign that firm timings have been given. Britain's pensioners have been oft-promised but undelivered. It's a clear indication that the Saga Generation is such a crucial constituency to woo that the election campaign will be fought on fields of silver. The gloves are off."
For more information please contact the Saga Press Office on 01303 771529