A defiant Tory government spat in the faces of millions of UK citizens yesterday when it announced that increases in the state pension age are to be accelerated, rather than reversed.
So this is how the Tories have chosen to respond to calls for them to have mercy on the so-called ‘WASPI’ (Women Against State Pension Inequality) campaigners.
These women, born in the 1950s, have spent years fighting Tory plans after they were told without warning that they would not be retiring at 60, as expected. Instead, their retirement age was being increased in a stepped programme, to create parity with that of men.
The Conservative government of John Major made that decision in 1995 – but it was kept quiet and those affected did not start to receive notification until 2009 – 14 years later and long after it became impossible for many of them to address the loss to their income that it implies.
The pressure has been too much for some of the women affected, and we know of at least one who has committed suicide because of this policy.
David Gauke (visit this article to learn more about him), currently Work and Pensions secretary, had the bare-faced cheek to say that the proposals would create “fairness across the generations, and the certainty which people need to plan for old age”, and insisted he wanted Britain to be “the best country in the world to grow old”.
He said that the change was needed because people are living longer after retirement. But this was a lie. We know that, because of Tory policies, life expectancy in the UK is falling. People are more likely to die younger – possibly before they even reach retirement age.
How can this ever be the best country in the world to grow old if, under Tory plans, you’re either worked to death before you ever receive your pension or you commit suicide because you know you won’t have enough income to survive?
Gauke reckoned failing to increase the pension age would put an unfair burden on younger generations, who would be expected to pay for it with their taxes.
There’s just one problem with that: The National Insurance Fund, from which state pensions are paid, makes a surplus of £2 billion each year. It currently has a surplus of around £30 billion.
So there will be no extra burden on younger generations if the situation carries on as it is.
In fact, the Tories could reduce the pension age of the WASPI women and the fund would still be in surplus.
What can we conclude?
Only that Mr Gauke – and the minority Tory government – are lying to us again.
They clearly want to cut the amount of money being spent on pensions.
Does this mean they are planning yet another tax cut for the already-obscenely-rich?
And Theresa May had the front to tell the nation in Prime Minister’s Questions that the income gap between the richest and the poorest is narrowing.
It’s more than a month past time these liars were gone. Let’s spend the summer pushing them out.
Britons born between 1970 and 1978 will have to wait an extra year, until they are 68, to claim their state pension, the government has announced.
David Gauke, the work and pensions secretary, announced the controversial rise for about 7 million people in their late 30s and early 40s just before the House of Commons breaks up for its summer recess.
The move implements the findings of a review by the former CBI director general John Cridland, published in March, which recommended accelerating the planned increase in the pension age to prevent the costs of the state pension becoming unsustainable.
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