This is an article for the South Wales Evening Post
I was pleased to see that the basic state pension will rise by at least £2.85 a week next year, thanks to the triple lock introduced by the Liberal Democrats in Government.
It means 42,812 pensioners in Swansea and 26,051 pensioners in Neath Port Talbot will benefit from an increase in their pension.
This rise will bring the level of the state pension to at least £115.95. This is £18.30 more, each week, than in 2010 when the Liberal Democrats entered coalition. This means pensioners on the full basic state pension are £950 a year better off than they were under the last government.
The triple lock delivers a pension rise of whichever is the greater of average earnings, inflation or 2.5%, meaning pensioners locally will see more money in their pockets.
It ensures that pensioners are guaranteed the security of a steady rise in their pensions, allowing them to plan for their future and giving them dignity in their retirement.
We have ensured that pensioners locally are never again subjected to the indignity of the 75p rise they saw during one year under the last Labour Government.
I am also pleased that the Welsh Liberal Democrats have been able to negotiate an extension of the pupil deprivation grant for two years up to May 2017.
This will mean that next year Swansea Schools will get an extra £5.764m whilst Neath Port Talbot schools will get an extra £3.990m. We have also secured a £3.8m extension to the Pupil Deprivation Grant to include children under the age of 5.
The Pupil Deprivation Grant gives additional funding to help disadvantaged children get a fair start in life. It is strictly monitored to make sure that the money is spent on giving less well-off pupils a fairer start.