SOCIAL Services Secretary Alistair Darling assures us average pensioner income is now £132 a week. If £132 is indeed the norm, maybe a representative of local New Labour could explain why it is that the number of pensioners living in poverty has risen by almost 100,000 since they came to power in 1997.

Perhaps too many affluent pensioners influence Government statistics on pensioner "income", like one lucky city fat cat on a pension of £10,500 per week. Others from FTSE 100 companies regularly retire on pensions ranging from £2,000 to £5,000 a week.

F L JONES, Malvern.