Budget courts the grey vote
Gordon Brown has unveiled measures to help pensioners in his Budget speech.
14:33 16 March 2005
Gordon Brown has announced a series of measures to help the country's pensioners, as the government courts the grey vote ahead of the election.
The chancellor's ninth Budget statement was dominated by proposals for older people, which included free local bus travel and a 200 council tax credit.
Mr Brown said pension credit would rise 13 per cent by 2008 and that the personal income tax allowance would rise to 4,895.
Responding on behalf of the Conservatives, Michael Howard rubbished the government's plans, branding the Budget "vote now, pay later".
Mr Howard said proposals to help pensioners fell short of what his party was offering, which was 500 towards council tax payments.
The Liberal Democrats have of coursed promised to scrap council tax altogether - a move they claim would benefit pensioners as they tend to be on a fixed income.
Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy said the chancellor's 200 pledge was little more than a "quick fix". Mr Kennedy called for 100 per month for over-75s and more help for women pensioners.
Older voters could play a big role in helping to swing key seats in the forthcoming election, as they are more likely to vote than other demographics.