“Pension Political Spin”

The Conservative party has long seen itself as a champion of older people.   It prides and preens itself as a supporter of traditional British values.   This has kept it in power for the last two general elections propped up by the votes of the majority of elderly people.

One of the centrepiece policies has been the security of the triple lock on the state pension.   Coupled with the additional pot of gold elusively placed at the end of the rainbow – the £155 pound pension.

So far we have just had the rain !

The story of this big rise in pensions has carried the Conservatives through two elections on a wave of hope.   I first started talking about it in 2010 (see my earlier blogs by clicking on ‘ Pensions ‘ in the topics list).

I always knew it was too good to be true and through the rain storm of austerity over the last 5 years the rainbow has started to disappear.     It is vanishing with each step in each puddle :-

  • The commencement date of this wondrous bounty was put back until 2016;
  • Then as the details became clearer, it was obvious it would only apply to new pensioners, leaving those who were already retired or would be retired  before 2016 left out in the rain;
  • An even deeper puddle was that you needed an extended number of years of contributions to qualify for the full pension.    Which leaves people approaching retirement, especially women who have had career breaks to bring up families, inadequate time to top up their contributions;
  • Then the rain got heavier still as savings rates plunged almost to nothing;
  • And by the time you got your pension pot of gold, annuity rates had tumbled by 50% , so you got far less annual income if you cashed it in;
  • Meanwhile the Chancellor has progressively been reducing the maximum size of the pension pot from£1.25 million to £1,000,000.  This only affects the wealthiest retirees but they still vote;

Finally, for now, the triple lock is under threat and may be removed after the next general election.    Also, the treasury is rumoured to be considering  removing high rate tax relief on pension contributions, which affects a smaller group of higher earners, albeit not until they retire.

political-spin

Wonderful how politicians get lost in a world of double speak about how much they have done for older people.     Pensions in the U.K. are among the lowest in Europe and there are still far too many older pensioners, particularly women living below the poverty line.

Right now all the talk is about Brexit, but before  the next general election the new pension will in place for a few people.

Our new Prime Minister had better stop believing her parties political spin about pensions and start listening to pensioners !   Otherwise she may find the rain washes votes away.

 

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3 Responses to “Pension Political Spin”

  1. What a piece, On ones rostrum at Hyde park in or at ‘Speaker Corner’ Give to ’em!! lad’ I have yet to collect my thoughts, for a more gentleyman response? No doubt full of my usual rubbish? But Hey this is a Blog site? See you later alligator!!!

  2. I find the past dialogue within this ‘Blog’ site and on this subject of pensions, and political spin, very divisive/ and fo r me difficult to be rational about the subject.
    I have made my comments on the previous ‘blogs’ at the appropriate time: This time , on this occasion I reflect, in what I had to make decisions about, and wonder how the new younger generation, with the insurance industry and state pensions, work out.
    Personal considerations that I undertook:
    1 A state pension scheme in the mid to late 90’s had subtle changes made to its benefits
    a. The pension pay-out was calculated and the lump sum stated as a percentage of the total pension pot; with a widows pension of 50% of the pension earned (Entitlement)
    b. If one wished one could elect as per the private insurance industry agree to a pension pay-out/ reduced lump sum, and a widows pension of some 66%, of the pension so reduced/earned,
    One had to do the sums and to some extent pray, and have a hearty and lengthy discussion with one spouse.
    In one of the schemes if one re-married or married during ones years of drawing a pension: then the spouse/partner received nothing.
    There were other minor/major considerations, but those choices have long since gone for me.
    2 What the commercial private Insurance Industry did or do offer I have no idea: However the government were edging towards all employees/employers being encouraged to utilise the Commercial Insurance/banking industry for proving pensions in the future the years 2000 + ( I may be wrong, but state pensions were and are becoming a burden).
    3 This is a recipe for a ‘crooks’ society, and if we as a society do not have the active work force paying taxes, and the general society being in the majority the retired generation, then, I ask who pays who and how do they pay the pensions we as retired folk have earned and may I say deserve? It is a conundrum in life? When one slices the cake, we cannot all eat it, someone has to provide the ingredient’s, and then we cannot do with ‘crooks’ cooking the books?
    Finally I note a throw away comment referring to high rate tax relief (a small Group) on pension contributions?? Is this ‘pull the ladder up Jack? I am all right??’
    We are in a changing society and ‘Britex’ may yet be a ‘God send’ or a ‘bite on the Bum?’
    Is property the name of the game and one’s house or savings through the banking and Insurance Industry? Who can advise who?

  3. I have ranted on a little, but re- reading The original ‘Blog’ highlights the problem of the ‘State old age pension scheme’ and now I re-collect my thoughts and pronounce today on the problems of pensions.
    In the late 90’s the pensions were reviewed (Possibly in the 80’s) pensions were changed from ‘married couples’ to individual pension rights for both men and women, regardless or married status?
    This may have been the social change in attitudes to the predicted aging population in the mid 20th century, and the fact women lived longer than men?, and the bout of single parents, and the change in social attitudes to a marriage, and the more common co-habiting with a partner.
    The law changed subtlety, together with the age at which a state pension was/is paid (Stepped gradually over a period from 65 to 70 for men- and then again women from 60 to 65, and later to both sexes receiving or attaining pensionable age at 70?)
    Then we had in the early 2000’s the ‘Bank crisis’ the nationalisation of Northern Rock and the ‘Lloyds Group of banks’, and the only money in the pot was those promised to pensioners!
    So John who pays what, on the surface the politicians are a crowd of shysters? However we as a society are changing, now we are an elderly society, we have no money in the pot-the stock market and banking system are questionable, and the property market depends on the up and coming generation to have purchasing power, and the hunger to buy to own? And what do we do as a society sit on the fence as a load of ‘RACKMAN’s and arrange to ‘Buy to rent’ because we are hard up! It is on vicious cycle (Boil) which needs lancing, and not a socialist society, but a more caring and understanding compassionate ‘society in which we wish to live’?
    WE elect the politicians we deserve the answer is ours alone, and through the ballot box, and those men in ‘Grey suits’! Can we be wiser and more honest with each other, I wonder at times?

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