24/7/02 Allowances for Pensioners

John Robertson (Glasgow, Anniesland): Thank you, Mr. Amess. I am delighted to have secured a debate on an issue that does not just affect my constituents but those of every hon. Member.

People of pensionable age make up 18 per cent. of the UK’s population. My constituency of Glasgow Anniesland has one of the highest concentrations in Europe- 31.5 per cent. of the electorate are in that bracket. It is very important for me to ensure that an issue that affects such a large number of my constituents is recognised and addressed by the Government. There is no doubt that the policy initiatives introduced by the Government have made a huge impact on improving the lives of our pensioners. We have spent a great deal of money on pensioners-an extra £6 billion a year in real terms-as a result of the policies that we have introduced since 1997. In fact, we are now spending three times more than an earnings link since 1998 would have given pensioners.

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2/7/02 Westminster Hall Air Services Debate (Scotland)

John Robertson (Glasgow, Anniesland): I begin by congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Shettleston (Mr. Marshall) on securing the debate. I add my condolences to those families who suffered a great loss earlier today.

It will be no surprise that I am going to concentrate on the Glasgow area and the central belt of Scotland. Nearly one quarter of Scotland’s population lives in the greater Glasgow area, and Glasgow is still the main employment area in Scotland. It has been said of Scotland’s success, or failure, that if Glasgow fails, Scotland fails.

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2/7/02 Funded Pensions Opposition Day Debate

John Robertson (Glasgow, Anniesland): I am pleased to have an opportunity to contribute to this excellent debate. Let me first congratulate the Government-surprisingly-on the measures they have introduced to help pensioners. As my constituency contains a higher percentage of over-60s than any other part of Europe, pensions have a special meaning for me. I congratulate the Government on the minimum income guarantee, the pension credit and free eye tests, to name but three of many useful measures.

The hon. Member for Gosport (Mr. Viggers), who is unfortunately not here now, said he wanted to be part of a reforming party. Perhaps he should cross the Floor, for he will certainly not achieve that on the Conservative Benches.

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