According to government figures nearly 50% of the welfare bill is given over to pay for pensions. This has caused a furore in Westminster. Iain Duncan-Smith was so incensed he forgot to put his monthly expenses in.
Seriously though, it is a fact that people in this country are living longer and enjoying better health. So, when you reach pensionable age, you can expect years of healthy, happy retirement all courtesy of the State. Quite rightly too. Men and women born in the late forties and early fifties left school and found work, which was plentiful during the late fifties to mid sixties. Once in a job they set about saving for their retirement because this was the sage advice given to them by their parents and peers. Not all were in a position to do this but the vast majority realised, or were advised, that the State Pension; paid out of National Insurance contributions which were deducted from their wages, would only give them the bare minimum requirement for a comfortable living and so they took out private pensions.
This frugal sector of the public is an easy target for political commentators, current affairs presenters and anyone under the age of sixty. The perception is that those in work now are paying for the day to day cost of living of the elderly. So, are pensioners to blame for Britain’s welfare burden?
What about scientists? Surely they must be to blame because their discoveries in medicine and consequent remedies have enabled people to live longer.
What about Doctors? Surely they are to blame because they are better trained, better equipped and have the luxury of medical history and modern drugs. Thereby putting into practice the discoveries of the aforesaid scientists
What about politicians? Surely they are to blame because they have been extremely slow in setting the retirement age at seventy five. To do so would save the Treasury £billions and take millions of people out of the retirement category.
The bottom line is, it is much easier to blame and penalise “The Pensioner”.
Retiring those workers between the ages of sixty to sixty-seven leaves a void in the labour market. A good thing you might assume because it frees up jobs for the unemployed to take. This is alright in theory but in practice it has been found that employers are finding it increasingly difficult to find replacement staff with the experience and skills of the retirees. For this I blame the Labour Party and the EU. The former for deliberately dumbing down the population, especially the young. The latter for strangling business with red-tape which in a lot of cases killed off in-house training schemes and traditional apprenticeships. Business either looked abroad for the skills they needed or went under. A generalisation maybe but, not far from the truth.
Another truth is that George Osborne has forced more people into poverty than any Chancellor before him. Worse, once George has despatched these people to the gutter he can rely on Duncan-Smith to keep them there. Many pensioners find themselves in this position because the money that they saved in order to top up their weekly pension is taxed at 20%. The weekly pension itself is some 60% less than the minimum wage; it equates to roughly £3.79 per hour, so to tax them on money that they have saved throughout their working lives is a double whammy. It compounds Cameron’s lie that “we are all in it together!”
Bad government caused the recession, bad government and greed. Blame the bankers all you want but who put all of the power into their grubby little hands? Government!
So, to blame everyone for the ills of the few is a slap in the face to every decent hard-working person in the country. The people who have worked longest for this country, the people who have fought for this country are now the weakest in society and to kick them in the teeth the way this government is doing is criminal! The propaganda machine has made sure that pensioners are the ones to be vilified, they are the ones taking the largest slice of the cake. Conveniently forgetting that they, the pensioners, put in the largest bloody slice in the first place!
It is typical of the Labour and Conservative Parties that over a hundred years of cocking up the economy has taught them nothing. High taxes, (and if you lower thresholds that means high taxes too) means that people have less to spend and this means that less goes into the national economy. Allow people to keep more of their hard-earned money and they will spend it, putting money back into the economy which can only be a good thing for the treasury and the country. It is also good for business, in fact a win-win situation.
So, I suggest that by raising the tax threshold to at least £15,000 and dropping the lower band of tax to 15%, more money will find its way back into the economy. Unfortunately this will be too radical a step for Osborne, he would sooner bash “the have-nots”and reward “the haves.”
However, something needs to be done quickly because millions of pensioners are being squeezed to the very limit and come next winter the mortality figures will make for grim reading.
This article originally appeared on Phil’s RantaBlog