Liberal Democrat MP Jenny Willott has been living on the basic State Pension of £95.25 this week, a huge change from her normal salary of her current gross weekly income as an MP of £1245.50.
She's doing it to highlight how difficult it is to manage to live on such a low income. She's recounting her experiences here on Twitter. It's well worth having a look at some of the basic choices she's having to make. She talked about buying a cheap tin of soup for lunch but then realising there was no tin opener in the office and having to nip out and get one. Most poignantly, she realises how hard it is to buy something as simple as a Remembrance poppy:
"My Remembrance poppy is looking tatty and I need a new one. I appreciate now it's a much bigger sacrifice to buy one as a pensioner."
I guess the other thing to think about is that Jenny is getting the full State Pension whereas many women don't qualify for even that paltry amount because they either worked part time, took time out to have children or look after elderly relatives. Some may have been badly advised decades ago and made decisions that it is now impossible to rectify because nobody will take responsiblity for the mistake.
This week Liberal Democrat Pensions Spokesman Steve Webb wrote in Liberal Democrat News about his fight to obtain justice for women who have been let down by the Pensions system.
He told how he had brought individual cases to the Government's attention and identified that 150,000 wome had missed out on help of around £2000 each because they had not received the Home Responsibilities Protection to which they were entitled from 1978 onwards.
He also identified that some women had not been notified of a special scheme to help those born between 1938 and 1944 boost their pensions in certain circumstances. The government agreed to contact the women concerned and they are likely to receive, between them, millions in a Pensions boost that they were rightfully entitled to.
It's appalling that women have borne the brunt of caring duties, saving the Government a fortune in many cases and then been kicked in the teeth when it comes to receiving even the most basic of State help in their old age. And before anyone reminds me about the Pension Credit, it's not that great and many people who are entitled to it don't claim often because they don't know about it. It's good that we have Steve to fight so tenaciously on their behalf.