Pensioners votes taken forgranted.

The Conservative Party has long seen itself as a champion of older people.    It prides and preens itself  as a supporter of British values.  This has kept it in power through the last two general elections, propped up by the votes of the majority of elderly people, who tend to vote and vote conservatively.

One of the central policies related to older people, has been the ” triple lock” on the state pension and the enticing pot of gold elusively placed at the end of the rainbow  —  The new £155 pension.

                                So far we have only seen the rain !

The storey of this unbelievably big rise in pensions has carried the Conservatives through two General Elections on a wave of hope and anticipation.   I first started blogging about it in 2010.  ( see all my earlier posts by clicking on pensions in the Topics list )

I always knew it was too good to be true and through the rainstorm of austerity in the last five years, the rainbow has started to disappear.    It is vanishing with each step into every puddle of bad news :-

  • First of all, although announced in 2010, the commencement date of this wonderful bounty was put back to 2015, then 2016 .
  • As the detail became clearer, it was obvious that it would only apply to NEW pensioners, leaving those who were already retired and those who would be before April 2016, to be left out in the rain.
  • Next came an even deeper puddle.   You needed an extended 36 years of contributions to qualify for the full pension.   This short-changes many people approaching retirement – especially women who have had career breaks to bring up families.
  • The unrelenting rain got heavier still as savings rates plunged almost to nothing.
  • To make matters worse, by the time you finally got your pension pot of gold, annuity rates have reduced by almost 50 percent since the recession started.

When the new pension begins in April this year relatively few pensioners will benefit from it and a two tier system will have been set up  which will enshrine inequality for years to come.  Many grey voters may no longer feel Conservatives can be trusted, but do they have an alternative.

I venture we will hear a lot more about pensions in the year ahead.

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5 Responses to Pensioners votes taken forgranted.

  1. Alex Robinson says:

    I am not sure you have given the full facts on this John.

    “You need 36 years of contributions to qualify for the full pension” – what you do not mention is that those with less than 36 years will get the new pension pro rata, in most cases meaning that the pension will be greater than under the old rules.

    “relatively few pensioners will benefit from the new rate” – it has been estimated that at least 40% of new pensioners will get the new rate – plus of those that don’t, many will get more because of their additional opted-out pensions.

    So let’s not knock the new arrangements before they have started. It is a significant improvement and whilst we can always say “it could be better” it is a move in the right direction.

    Lastly, you confuse the story by adding in the issues of savings and annuity rates. Would you have us going back to high inflation and interest rates and possibly even shorter lives?

    Perhaps a little more balance next time please.

    • john graham says:

      It is good to get your observations Alex. My reference to “relatively few people getting the new higher rate” was in relation to all pensioners. The Pensions Minister was very coy about the fact that existing pensioners were not included when it was initially announced some 5 years ago. Yet our older pensioners are the ones who have the greatest needs in later life and they will not benefit at all.
      Any pension increase is to be welcomed, but UK pensions still lag well behind many other countries.

  2. Hark I hear words been spoken, and comments written. I hope to follow with interest, I am locked as a pensioner in my existing arrangements, but for my adult children I am very concerned, and will follow the discussion with interest: However with an open mind, but hands tied, until I understand the full implications of what is what?
    I know jam tomorrow is not the answer, and the present political scene in Westminster, and Holyrood, is not conducive to a meaning full debate, other than a ‘Catfight’, between two or more Alleycats, and they make a lot of noise, talk heresy and a little nonsense .

  3. davidwfreeman237 says:

    Pension Follies- Where fore art thou?

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