What the election means for pensioners - will you face a shock?

Which parties will guarantee the triple lock, and who will make more people pay for care?

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What the election means for pensioners

Pensioners are vital to the General Election, so have been a major focus for the manifestos. The promises have been coming thick and fast - on everything from the triple lock to state pension ages. Potential threats have been there too (albeit hedged around with protestations that we all have to play our part and face difficult decisions).

Before retirees head to the Ballot Box, therefore, they need to know the manifesto pledges that will affect them the most. We have tracked down ten - and some of them would make an enormous difference to pensioners.

See also: Will your pension savings last as long as your retirement?

See also: One in seven get to retirement with no pension

See also: State pensions should be axed for rich pensioners

1. The Conservatives would ditch the triple lock
Labour and the Liberal Democrats have promised to keep the triple lock, but the Conservatives would drop it after 2020 in favour of a double lock, so that pensions are only guaranteed to keep pace with inflation and wage rises - rather than at least 2.5%.

It's easy to see why each party has taken this approach: Labour and the Liberal Democrats need to appeal to all the voters they can, and pensioners tend to vote - so are essential to have on-side. Chris Noon, Partner, Hymans Robertson says: "Labour's commitment to the triple lock is welcomed - it helps low income current and future pensioners who rely mostly on the state pension. They would be worst hit by the removal of the triple lock. It's also politically astute – it's likely to be a low cost commitment over the course of the next parliament but will be received well by the electorate."

The Conservatives, meanwhile are committed to cutting the welfare bill, and have been held back from pensioner cuts by this promise. It has been seen as a politically difficult cut, because it risks alienating pensioners, but the Conservatives believe they have a big enough majority to risk it now.

2. The Conservatives would means test the winter fuel allowance
Labour has pledged to keep the winter fuel allowance (and the free bus pass), while the Conservatives have said that the wealthiest pensioners will lose their fuel allowance. The Conservative cuts are the culmination of much rumbling about universal pensioner benefits for years, and again it seems as though they feel in a strong enough position to make the cuts and face the ire of pensioners.

3. Labour will halt the rise in the state pension age
Labour has said that the maximum the state pension will rise to is the age of 66 - seeing off the spectre of never-ending rises. It's set to be popular, but the experts warn that longer life spans means this may not be a sensible move. Noon says: "Proposing a maximum State Pension age of 66 is too inflexible and completely arbitrary." Tom McPhail, Head of Policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, meanwhile, warns that if this proposal is to be cost-neutral, it would mean cutting state pensions by £800 a year.

The Conservative party, meanwhile, has confirmed that state pension ages will rise, although McPhail says: "They have ducked until after the election the question of how far and how fast. Those aged in their early 40s and below should brace themselves for another year or two of work before getting their state pension; age 70 still looks on the cards for those in their 20s and 30s."

4. Labour would compensate women caught out by state pension age rises
In power the Conservatives (and the Liberal Democrats as part of the coalition) said their hands were tied, and they could do nothing for women born in the 1950s who were wrong-footed by rises in their state pension age. Labour has said it will extend pension credit to compensate these women.

5. The Liberal Democrats will consider a flat rate of tax relief for pensions
This is something that commentators have been crying out for, but didn't make an appearance in the Labour or Conservative manifestos. At the moment, by far the majority of pension tax relief is enjoyed by the very wealthiest savers. By introducing a flat rate, a government could make tax relief more generous for basic rate taxpayers - encouraging people to save more for their future - and make the distribution of tax relief far fairer.

6. The Conservatives would raise the level of assets that people can have and still get free elderly care
They would quadruple the level of assets that people could hold before they have to pay for care to from £23,250 to £100,000. It means that whatever care they are paying for, once someone's estate has been run down to £100,000, their care will be free.

7. However, the Conservatives would make more people pay for care
The value of people's homes will be included in an assessment of their assets - regardless of whether they are receiving care in their own home or going into residential care. Anyone with more than £100,000 in assets will have to pay for their own elderly care in their homes - rather than having the council pay for it. This will mean many more people paying for care.

8. The Conservatives would enable care bills to be paid after your death
The Conservatives have also pledged to extend the rules that allow people to build up care bills during their lifetime, and pay them from the sale of their home after their death - so people won't have to sell up during their lifetime in order to pay for care.

9. Labour would protect pensions for all UK citizens living overseas
This would mean that pensioners living in the European Union, worried about the impact of Brexit on their position, could be confident that their state pension would not lose value.

10. The Liberal Democrats would reverse tax giveaways
The manifesto also outlines they will 'reverse a number of the Conservatives' unfair and unjustified tax cuts' including Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax. Danny Cox, Chartered Financial Planner at Hargreaves Lansdown, points out that both ideas have flaws. The money the government makes from CGT actually goes up when the tax is cut - because people crystallise their gains - so it won't achieve their aims. Meanwhile, inheritance tax may have seen a new type of allowance, but let's not overlook the fact that the threshold for paying the tax has been frozen since 2009 - dragging more and more people into paying this unpopular and expensive tax.

How we spend our pensions

How we spend our pensions