'Grey Vote' Vital to Winning General Election in Wales; Research Reveals Pensioner Power

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), January 13, 2014 | Go to article overview

'Grey Vote' Vital to Winning General Election in Wales; Research Reveals Pensioner Power


Byline: DAVID WILLIAMSON Parliamentary Correspondent

THE power of pensioners to decide the outcome in key Welsh seats in next year's general election is revealed in research showing the influence of the so-called "grey vote".

In four Welsh seats around a quarter of the population are aged 65-plus - Plaid Cymru-held Dwyfor Meirionnydd (26.2%), Liberal Democrat-held Brecon and Radnorshire (25.2%), and the Conservative-held seats of Aberconwy (24.9%) and Clwyd West (24.7%).

The research also shows that across Wales and England 38 of the 50 constituencies with the highest share of over-65s are Conservative seats and just one is Labour.

It also shows that 40 of the top 50 youngest constituencies are Labour-held. Just two of those seats are Conservative.

The findings come days after David Cameron pledged to keep the pension "triple-lock" - which guarantees an annual increase of at least 2.5% - if the Conservatives win the 2015 election.

Aberconwy Conservative MP Guto Bebb said: "I think people become more Conservative with age; people become more Conservative with responsibility. It's very easy to be a mad socialist when you're footloose and fancy free."

However, he was concerned at the stark age divide in support for the Tories and Labour, saying: "We've always been worried about the North-South divide; it's just as concerning if we have this age/generation divide in terms of voting."

His colleague, Montgomeryshire MP Glyn Davies did not think the way to address this was to have quotas of younger candidates but said the commitment to keep the triple-lock had to be "matched by taxation changes that will benefit the working population". Plaid Arfon MP Hywel Williams said: "These figures serve as a reminder of how ideologically driven the Government's welfare policies really are. …

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