This blog follows on from the previous post “Now You See It”.
I was at the AGE UK Conference in 2011 when the Secretary of State for Works and Pensions – Mr Ian Duncan-Smith – made his speech about the £140 universal state pension. (See “THE £140 PENSION ILLUSION” in the TAG CLOUD).
It is a massive rise from the then current £107.45 a week state pension. It was surprising there wasn’t a fanfare of trumpeters from the Queen’s Royal Regiment for such a momentous announcement. There were headlines in the press but they only lasted for a day. It was also astonishing that the overwhelming pensioner audience didn’t stand on the chairs and cheer, but of course they have lots of experience of politicians’ promises.
Now 1 1/2 years later, unsurprisingly, nothing has happened nor is it likely to happen before the next election. Nonetheless, it is an idea that is being dusted off for a re-run in the half-term review. The good news is that it still has eye-catching and vote-catching appeal.
The bad news is it cannot be afforded in these austere times.
So how is this trick to be performed ?
- Firstly, it has already been announced it will not take effect until 2015 (maybe that may have to be 2016 or 2017 or …………).
- Secondly, the Prime Minister’s promise to protect universal allowances for pensioners was only for the current parliament, so expect that to go.
- Thirdly, pension age will have to rise more rapidly than previously forecast to limit the cost of the universal state pension in future years. Don’t be surprised if 70 doesn’t become the new retirement age by 2020.