Hypocritical Tories plan attack on pensioners while protecting themselves

Someone's raiding the pensions piggy-bank: Government changes mean the rich will be subsidised by the poor.

Someone’s raiding the pensions piggy-bank: Government changes mean the rich will be subsidised by the poor.

It seems the Conservatives cannot wait to betray their most loyal voting group. If you are a pensioner – beware!

As trailed on Vox Political last November, the Department for Work and Pensions appears to be planning to delete the cold weather payment from its chequebook, along with free bus passes and free TV licences.

We already know that the age at which the state pension will be paid is rising, meaning people will have to continue working for longer before they qualify for the £144/week payment (with a minimum National Insurance record of 30 full years). This is a betrayal of promises made by both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats in their document ‘The Coalition: Our Programme for Government’.

Because life expectancy depends on where you live and your social class, this means many poorer people will enjoy only three-to-six years of retirement on average, while richer pensioners get 17-20 years of pension payments. That’s right – rich people even get a better deal from the state pension.

Meanwhile, the taxpayer is being asked to fund three-fifths of the pension scheme for members of Parliament, who qualify at the age of 60 after 20 years’ service (or after 15 years if aged between 60 and 65) and receive an average of £353/week (see House of Commons Library SN6283: MPs’ Pension Scheme – 2012 onwards).

MPs (along with civil servants and judges) will receive transitional protection as the pensionable age rises – meaning they won’t lose out. More than 700,000 working women, on the other hand, have received less than two years’ notice of changes that will deprive them of up to £7,500 per year.

Iain Duncan Smith announced at yesterday’s meeting of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee that he was considering removing benefits that are exclusively for pensioners, in order to bolster his Benefit Cap.

He said: “We need maximum flexibility with the cap. Pretty much all existing ringfences will have to disappear.”

Asked if pensioner benefits would be included in the cap, he said: “These are matters which are still under discussion.”

The Benefit Cap was hailed as a hugely popular policy after its introduction last year, but it is now questionable whether pensioners will be quite so enthusiastic.

Including pensioners’ benefits among those that are capped means they may have to be means tested in the future, as the number of pensioners grows – putting pressure on the £200 billion benefits budget.

The Daily Mirror reported that Treasury sources played down this prospect last night, saying the annual spend on pensioner benefits was dwarfed by other payments. This is disingenuous as the annual spend on pensions is more than on all the other benefits combined. Cutting pensioner benefits and forcing people to work longer before they receive their pensions will deprive senior citizens of billions of pounds.

While changes to pensioners’ benefits are still under discussion, changes to the age at which pensions are paid have already become law.

The hypocrisy of MPs in imposing new rules that disadvantage ordinary people while protecting themselves, judges and civil servants has led to the creation of a petition on the 38 Degrees website, calling for the changes to be reversed.

The petition states: “It is discrimination to impose ‘rules’ that disadvantage one group of people more than another. It is against the law to treat someone less favourably than someone else. How can this Government be allowed to get away with this?

“Because of this broken promise those of us affected are now being forced to work longer and wait longer to receive our state pension, which is an entitlement and something to which we have contributed, all of our working lives.

“These changes will also have a detrimental impact upon employment opportunities for young people. The longer we are being forced to work, the fewer jobs there will be for them. Is this an honourable way to treat people?

“The right to retire with financial security, at the age that has been promised throughout our working lives, has been denied.

“This broken promise is unfair, unnecessary and totally unacceptable. Ministers need to do a u-turn on this mean-spirited move and honour their word.”

The petition currently (February 4) has around 7,100 signatures. If you agree with it, please visit the 38 Degrees website and sign.

And don’t forget to mention it to anyone you know who is coming up to retirement age.

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56 thoughts on “Hypocritical Tories plan attack on pensioners while protecting themselves

  1. Jonathan Wilson

    It was only a matter of time before the Elderly would be hit… we’ve had months of constant “scrounging pensioners” retoric in the likes of the Daily Wail; although often more directed to sub groups (such as overseas) but not always, and how increasing numbers of pensioners will bankrupt the state, and how pensioners are living longer, etc. etc. and integrated into all the scrounger retoric over disabled and unemployed (by linking the pensions into “welfare” (hate that term))

    And pensioners tend to vote “conservative” as apposed to tory/Conservative, but in effect the same thing… well I hope they relise that as far as the ConDems are concerned they are nothing but scroungers living off the state (no doubt with plazma flat screen TV’s… the horror!) and as such will ket a kicking by the ConDems, if not today, definatly by tommorow and indispuably if the Con’s get a majority (or sidle up to the absolute scum LibDums)in 2015… then its gloves off and start bashing pensioners with bare knuckles… its what they do, and what they are taugh all through their over priced schooling… plebs work, Oxbridge elete “rule.”

    1. annak53

      Hi, I am retired but do not receive my pension until 2017! 4 years longer than I had planned for and contributed to. I have never, and never will, vote Tory/ConDems.

      If we all stand united against this contemptible government then we really can effect change.

      If you haven’t already done so please sign and share the petition.
      Anne

  2. Ian Duncan

    I have no sympathy for the pensioners, at least those who continuously voted Tory. Balls to them. They made their bed, now they can lie in it.

    How long will they remain loyal Conservative voters when they have to pay their own gas bills and bus fares? And will they abstain from voting or stay at home?

    Either way, could be good news for Labour, I just hope the Lib Dems don’t profit. That filth deserve to die at the polls. Enabling, quisling f***s.

    1. Paul Wilson

      There is no difference they are all Conservative with a different hue hopefully we in Scotland will be rid of them permanently and I suggest voters in Wales do the same. The smaller nations within the UK will be faced with ever more austerity to try to make up for England’s massive elderly population and the costs that will bring.Wales and Scotland never bought in to Thatchers revolution we just paid the price of it. It Was England who continually voted for right wing governments now they can pay for it. Don’t believe the rubbish that the media is telling you the unionists are bricking it as the Scottish electorate has seem through New Labour and they (the Labour party are now jockeying for position as it dawns on them that their Westminster lifestyle is about to come to an end) the infighting is all ready started with Lamonts position under serious threat. Interesting times indeed.

    2. annak53

      I am a pensioner, robbed of my state pension Ian. I have never voted Tory/ConDems nor will I ever do so.

      One of the points Mike (and my petition) is making is that besides the ConDems reneging on their word re State Pension age, MP’s and Judges have been given transitional protection in the changes made to their pension schemes.

      Blatant discrimination.

    3. misspoppy2013

      Well I would almost be a pensioner if my pension rights hadn’t been deferred by 6 years!!! I am sure you must be having a laugh with your comment, please be sympathetic and try not to stereotype pensioners, we’re the next upcoming generation of elderly, the ones who didn’t vote Tory, the ones who suffered under Thatcher’s rule. I’m ready to retire but instead I got another 6 years hard labour under my belt and I am tired. I’ve been ripped.

    4. George Berger

      That is simply silly at best for you to say. 1. Whatever category you are in might be subject to such cruelty. Would you like that? 2. In a free, democratic society, the vote of an individual is irrelevant as to how the outcome affects that person. This principle helps prevent social divisions and individual disadvantages that are harmful artefacts of a voting system’s use on any one occasion.

  3. Ruth Ockendon Laycock

    Well I’m a pensioner and I never have and never will vote Tory or LibDem, it makes me sick that ‘tactical voters’ and no voters let this current government in and everyone has to suffer! I worked hard all my life and earned my state pension, it’s scandalous that the pension age keeps on rising, it’s not fair on the older people or the young either, it makes sense that people who have done their bit retire and free up their jobs to give young people a start in working. It’s pure discrimination that the rich are the ones benefiting from everything this government do.

  4. bookmanwales

    Actually Ian Duncan, above, has a valid point to some degree. Pensioners always going on about young people being wasters and things were so different in their day blah blah blah.
    The Tory support amongst pensioners is well known and maybe now the chickens will come home to roost. Especially amongst those “middle class” social climbers who jumped on the Right to buy bandwagon and got thier properties at knock down prices.

    Personally I think attacking everyone piecemeal is a waste of time. We should scrap the welfare system, close the NHS. shut all the schools and go back to a ribal existence where we fight each day for survival

    Oh hang on seems someone has already come up withy that plan… damn !!

  5. Babz Bates (@babzbates)

    Well I know of no pensioners that vote Conservative, but living in the North East there has never been any reason for pensioners or anyone else in this part of the country to support a Conservative government because we all lose out to “Darn Sarf” whatever our ages! Bad enough that they have seen fit to raise the state pension age high enough to mean a lot of people in the NE won’t ever retire, they’ll just die in harness, but now IDS has his knife out for those who by some quirk of fate do live long enough to get a bit of pension and he wants their bus passes, cold weather money and TV licences, well I sincerely hope it comes back to bite him and all today’s senior citizens give their vote to Labour in 2015 and trounce the Conservatives, the Lib Dem, Ukip and anyone else who’s itinerary is to take from hard working people and stuff it in their own food troughs so to speak. I support the petition calling for the cruel, discriminatory and ill planned state pension age changes to be reversed, they might as well have sat a monkey down with pen and paper to plan it out for all the logic and sense it contains, please sign it on the link above.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Isn’t Pension Credit supposed to bring it up? £144 is the flat-rate state pension with no Pension Credit added as it’s all part of the scheme (or so I understand).

  6. jaypot2012

    Then pensioners who vote for tories are beyond silly and deserve what they get, but the others who don’t vote tory don’t deserve what they get!
    The true tory voters are the rich so nothing that this coalition has done has affected them and the pensioners of this crowd see the pension as pin money. The rest of the pensioners will struggle to pay their bills just like they have done for the last 3+ years.
    The rich are staying rich and the poor are becoming at an even higher risk.
    As for the rise in ages for the pension, that I find disgusting – the youngsters need to work and need to earn money – for the next generation, and the next and the next…God help them!
    Everyone becomes a pensioner in time – that’s why we need to look after our pensioners.

  7. Andy Robertson-Fox

    Why is it that so many people continue to confuse and seek to compare the State Retirement Pension Scheme with pensions earned by vırtue a persons occupatıon ın either the public or private sector?
    To do so totally undermines any value in articles such as this.
    By far the biggest State Retirement Pension scandal and which is the indictment of successive governments over the past sixty years is that 4% of all UK pensioners world wıde who have contributed on the same terms and conditiıons when working as everybody else do not get their state pension index linked – ever.

    1. Mike Sivier

      The comparison between the state pension and that for MPs seems apt to me, because the taxpayer puts money towards both of them, but the benefits are far greater for MPs, and after a much shorter period of time.

      Would anybody else like to comment on this?

      1. Andy Robertson-Fox

        Wrong Mıke!
        MPs pay the same contrıbutions to the NI Scheme as everybody else, so theır entıtlement should be the same – it is not funded by general taxation (the NI Fund ıs currently ın surplus to the tune of around 25 billion) and they, lıke everyone else, are not entitled to draw their pension until they reach pensionable age.
        The comparison should be made, if one is requıred, between the average pensıon the MP gets on retiring from the House and the average occupatıonal pension in the private sector. By the way for anyone who ıs ınterested.the average pensıon for a retıred Cıvıl Servant ın eıght thousand pounds a year.

      2. Mike Sivier

        Either you haven’t read the article or you are flailing around for a way to start an argument. I’m not wrong. The information in the article is correct according to the quoted sources.

      3. annak53

        MP’s and Judges HAVE been given transitional protection on the basis that “This protection strives to be fair to members who are close to their expected retirement age and are less able to change their plans than younger members”.

        I, and 700,000 women born on or after 6th April 1951, were given 2 years (or less) notice. We were close to retirement age, we were not treated fairly, we were not able to change our plans. All I want is to be treated equally and to receive my State Pension. My entitlement.

  8. Andy Robertson-Fox

    No I am not flailing around nor trying to start an argument merely pointıng out where the ınformatıon in the artıcle is misleadıng. Pensions derived from their period ın office as MPs have no connectıon, whatsoever, with the State Retirement Pension. The pension from my occupation has no connectıon with what the State pays..so too wıth the MPs.

    1. Mike Sivier

      What do you think, readers? Are the pension conditions that MPs award themselves – using our tax money along with their own contributions – completely unconnected from the pension conditions that they set for us to receive – from our own tax money and personal contributions (NI)?

  9. Andy Robertson-Fox

    Before anybody answers please bear in mind that the State Retirement Pension ıs paıd solely from the ring fenced NI Fund and not from general taxatıon.

    1. Mike Sivier

      In which case, so is the Treasury-fuelled part of MPs’ pensions; my understanding was that NI did not pay enough and general taxation had been forced to take the strain, but it’s possible I was mistaken.

  10. Andy Robertson-Fox

    Yes Mike I think you were mistaken – the NI Fund, from which the State Pension is paid is, as I saıd currently in surplus of around 25 billion and is ring fenced because ıt comprises contributions not tax. A check of the NI Fund Monthly Accounts will confırm this and, although ıncome has dropped over the past few years (GAD forecast it will start to increase again in a year or two), that the Fund has been in surplus for many years. Indeed, ıt has not had to be “topped up” for decades. MPs State Retirement Pensions are paıd from this fund like everybody elses. Their entirely separate occupational pension is paid in part from their own contributions and in part from non rıng fenced general taxation.
    Gıven that the case for ıncreasıng the age for receıpt of the State Retirement Pensıon was establıshed by all the political parties long before 2010 it was inevitable in a time bound world that whichever of them bıt the bullet and whenever the changes came about some would fall vıctım solely because of theır date of birth!
    It ıs because of this misconception about pensions that I believe basiig an argument for changes in the State Retirement Pension scheme and citing the MPs occupational pension as a comparison are ıncompatable. That does not, of course, mean that I accept the occupational pension rates they get as being acceptable and justifiable; that is another scenario entirely!

    1. Mike Sivier

      I think you’re picking nits – trying to make an argument from details that are of no interest to anybody. The similarities outweigh the differences and MPs make decisions on both the state pension and their own. You should take particular note of the fact that nobody else has cared enough about your comments to respond to them – those who have commented agree with the article.

      1. annak53

        Picking nits is exactly what he’s doing. Mike’s article has received a great response. Almost 300 signatures in a few hours yesterday. Thanks again Mike for the blog.

      2. Andy Robertson-Fox

        Not nit picking – just stating facts…and they are of interest to me. İ have sought to be constructive ın correctıng ıgnorance on the issue but as it is not welcomed I shall make no further comment on the subject.

      3. Paul Warnock

        I believe Andy (most likey a tory vote with his double-barrelled surname and incredibly elevated sense of self importance) is trying to find an arguement with a great number of the popultion of the UK, perhaps his claim that he is “Not nit picking – just stating facts…and they are of interest to me” indicates he was involved in the development of this proposal by the Tories in some way?
        A question his fact stating does raise in my mind though is this:
        If the NI fund, from which State pensions are paid, is 25 billion pounds in surplus which he claims to be a fact, why on Earth was there any need to delay the State pension entitlement age in the first place?!?

  11. Pingback: A very interesting, yet disturbing article | markandanne

  12. misspoppy2013

    Thank you for writing about this scandalous affair affecting 700,000 women, myself included. More years to work, but where are our jobs? If you can’t find work or are unable to work, then you can wave goodbye to any retirement savings you may have sensibly put by. We are being royally rinsed.

      1. annak53

        Hi, It may be due to the high volume of “traffic” on the petition page yesterday. Over 1000 signatures in less that 24 hours!! I have contacted 38 Degrees and informed them of the issue. Please continue to re-visit site as the problem should be resolved ASAP. Thanks for your support!

  13. The Swans New Party

    38 Degrees will not put a Pension category link on its home page and so duplicate pensions keep on being started, so making it harder to get a big number account for any single petition.

    Anne Keen’s petition about revoking the pension law
    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/revert-to-the-governments-promise-regarding-no-increase-in-the-state-pension-age-until-2016-2012

    I signed it and then made my own petition about the Flat Rate (Single Tier) Pensions that further discriminates against women and further destroys pensions:
    https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/state-pension-at-60-now

    So both need to be signed.

    38 Degrees may fall victim of the gagging law coming into force in September this year, which will curtail or end petitions and charitable campaigns.

    My blogs on Google Blogger also give further information on the injustice of loss of women’s state pension payout at 60.
    No UK politician cares less about women 60-66
    http://mpsmoraltheftfromwomenaged60.blogspot.co.uk/

    and my Google Blog
    About the injustice to women born 1953 and 1954 that has already begun
    whilst Dame Anne Begg, Chairwoman of Commons Select Committee on Works and Pensions denies that women MPs got interim protection to keep the pension payout at 60 if they were within 10 years of that age.
    http://newpensionerparty.blogspot.co.uk/

  14. ANGELA LANE

    TV LICENCES AND FUEL ALLOWANCES AND BUS PASSES SHOULD BE MEANS TESTED FOR PENSIONERS ON OVER £20K.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Once again it seems I should remind everybody: Please don’t ‘shout’ – it’s very hard to read messages that are composed entirely of capital letters.

  15. R Chad

    I am one of those born in 1954 whose pension age was put up twice, I was due to retire this year, but now have to wait another 6 years when I have already worked 41 years ! Damned well annoys me as my employer (the Government) is trying to get rid of people, yet they won’t let me retire ! Now they are having to pay me more than I’d get in state pension when they no longer want me and I no longer want to work for them, Doesn’t make any sort of sense ! I’d happily take my state pension and go, but I can’t afford it without that so now have to stay somewhere that I’m miserable working at ! I’ve tried getting another job, but at nearly 60 there’s not much hope of that and I’d have to take a pay cut to start at the bottom again, and I can’t afford my bills if I do that !

  16. clive

    Good article, but I would like to make one correction, It’s only the senior Civil Service who will have their pension protected. Those of us who work in the CS at lower grades have to pay more, work longer and get less. And for those who believe we get ‘gold plated pensions’ when we retire, let me give you a few facts. I’ve been in the CS for
    almost 20 years, pay £70 month to my pension (this increases each year) and my pension is forecast to be just over £5000 per annum.

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  19. Edith Psyl

    I am pleased to see so may signatures being added to the petition but think the case could benefit from publicity – there must still be a lot of women who are not aware they could be doing something otherwise the petition would surely have over 500,000 signatures. I have written to Steve Webb and my MP and am going to write to papers urging women to take some action as this could be our last chance to force the government to reconsider. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain!

    1. annak53A

      Hi Edith, yes I totally agree with you re publicity. It’s down to the support and co-operation of people like Mike who have helped me raise an awareness of my petition, which has really gathered momentum over the past week. The media choose not to comment!

      You’re also right when you say that lots of women are still unaware of the changes – this is evident from the comments made on the petition page and here https://www.facebook.com/groups/protestagainstraisedpensionage/
      You may want to join the group – new members and their ideas on raising the campaigns profile are always welcome!

      It’s very re-assuring that you have written to Steve Webb and your MP. Please keep us informed of their response. I have also written to several Labour MP’s but have basically been fobbed off.

      They say that whilst Labour opposed these changes in the first place life expectancy has increased blah de blah. It really does not inspire confidence in the Labour Party.

      If we are living longer then all the more reason that we should retire and receive our State Pension at the age we’d been promised and contributed to all of our working lives. We should enjoy our retirement.

      Not one single politician acknowledges that as we get older our bodies change physically and mentally. This is a fact.

      Medical research confirms that the performance of many organs such as the heart, kidneys, brain, or lungs shows a gradual decline over the life span. NHS UK state that “As you get older, you’re more likely to develop conditions that are rare in younger people”.

      I have also contacted countless celebrities who oppose this unelected governments policies. Not one has replied unfortunately. Not to worry as I will carry on regardless and continue to ask fro their support. It will only take one of them to support the campaign for it to receive media attention.

      Good luck with the work you are doing in letting people know about the petition. I find it really helpful to share on a regular basis as people may miss the first and subsequent post.

      If anyone else reading this has any ideas as to how to help make the petition have a bigger impact then please do not hesitate to contact me via here or 38 Degrees http://you.38degrees.org.uk/p/statepensionlaw

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