Petition to nearly double state pension by Stevenage couple gains over 30,000 signatures

Pete and Nikki got married five years ago.

Pete and Nikki got married five years ago. - Credit: Archant

A loving couple’s campaign to nearly double the state pension and bring it in line with what’s accepted as a living wage has attracted more than 30,000 signatures in just over a month.

Pete is disabled and relies on Nikki to survive.

Pete is disabled and relies on Nikki to survive. - Credit: Archant

Pete and Nikki Perry, who live in Elm Walk, Stevenage, have attracted a lot of media attention in the past thanks to the 41-year age gap between them and their many campaigns for a range of causes.

Now they’re harnessing that energy to stoke their campaign to make the state pension “enough to manage on”.

Pete, 78, has been registered as disabled since suffering a stroke and two heart attacks.

He also has angina and polymyositis – chronic muscle inflammation – and relies on his wife of five years Nikki, 37, to get by.

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He says that the current benefits they receive just aren’t enough and they’re not the only ones.

Pete explained: “I only get the state pension and pension credit of about £140 a week while my wife Nikki, who is my full-time carer, only has the basic carer’s allowance of around £60 a week.

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“We are really struggling because we just don’t have enough money to live on.

“We have to really scrimp and save to get by.”

The current basic state pension is £113.10 per week for people born before 1951 and even though it can be topped up with pension credit to £148.35 for single people and £226.50 for couples, Pete and Nikki believe it still isn’t enough.

Pete said it should be raised to be in line with the ‘living wage’ which equates to £343 a week in London and £294 per week everywhere else.

The petitions calls for the state pension to be increased by 98 per cent for individuals and 54 per cent for couples, and has attracted a lot of interest and support since it was launched just over four weeks ago.

They think that if people need so much money to live on while they’re working then it shouldn’t be cut in half when they retire.

He said: “They say there’s a pension crisis but if the government can afford to give all the MPs and their aides large pay rises and businessmen can pay themselves bonuses the money is there but it’s in the wrong places.

“Whenever I hear people say there’s no money I think: ‘We’re the fifth richest country in the world, we can afford it’.

“Things are being taken back to the 1930s with foodbanks, zero hour contracts and the bedroom tax.

“The poor are getting poorer and the rich richer. My dad used to tell me about the 1930s when I was a kid and he said it was terrible. I feel that things are going back there or even before.

“I hope that the politicians see sense and change things before it’s too late.”

Nikki said: “It’s difficult and every day is challenging. Pensioners and carers have been unfairly targeted in the cuts and it is a real financial struggle to live.”

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