LABOUR'S new policies on pensions show that they are not fit to govern. They pose dangers for pensioners and for the taxpayer.

New Labour's plan to allow everyone to retire from age 60 would mean £15 billion extra public spending if the basic pension remained unchanged, and extra spending could be avoided only if people retiring at pension age received a basic pension cut by £20 a week for the rest of their lives.

In addition, if New Labour's 'Pension Entitlement' means anything, it means paying means-tested benefits to more people at a higher level.

New Labour cannot make tough choices on spending. They have opposed or criticised all the Conservatives' welfare reforms. Their child benefit proposals would do nothing to control public spending - they would just take money away from parents for a Labour government to spend.

We saw in Blackpool that interest groups, like Jack Jones' National Pensioners Convention, could squeeze more taxpayers' money from Gordon Brown, who is not tough on spending - but tough on taxpayers.

GEETA SIDHU, prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate for Blackburn.

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