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A knife in the back: This is the Conservative offer to pensioners. Labour is proposing a higher quality of life in our twilight years. Which would you prefer?

Look at the state of the Conservatives.

Having been slammed after Iain Duncan Smith suggested raising the pension age to 75 – past life expectancy for people in several parts of the UK – they are now trying to get us to accept a rise to 70.

Don’t they understand how badly they upset people with the ham-handed way they handled the increase to 67 for everyone?

The Labour Party manifesto has it right: “Under the Tories, 400,000 pensioners have been pushed into poverty and a generation of women born in the 1950s have had their pension age  changed without fair notification.

“This betrayal left millions of women with no time to make alternative plans – with sometimes devastating personal consequences.”

Labour says it will legislate to prevent accrued rights to the state
pension from being changed.

There’s no such promise from the Tories, who are simply pointing to a study by the Office for National Statistics that says life expectancy is increasing. They say this means the pension age could be pushed back to 70.

But this is based on a belief that men can expect to live to 85 and women to 87 – and this is disputed.

The Independent published a report within the last fortnight saying life expectancy for women in the least deprived areas of the UK is now 86 years and two months – but this is more than seven years more than women in the most deprived areas.

Average expectancy is 83 years – not 87 – and is among the lowest in comparable countries.

Men in deprived areas suffer a similar deficit – with some likely to live only to 74 – not 85.

So claims that increased life expectancy supports raising the pension age are bunkum – they would be an excuse to steal our twilight years away from us.

Going back to the ONS report, it says, “More older people means increased demand for health and adult social services, and increased public spending on state pensions.”

But the report adds, “It might mean the opportunity to spend more time with family and friends and to pursue personal interests with more time for leisure activities.

“The key to shifting the balance from challenge towards opportunity… is for older people to be able to live healthy lives for as long as possible.”

It seems clear that such claims are based on very shaky ground.

Under the Conservatives, health care has been increasingly hard to find, with people of all ages struggling to make appointments with their GPs and hospital waiting lists skyrocketing.

What are the opportunities available for older people to enjoy their lives, post-retirement? Under the Conservatives, they have been increasingly restricted.

And of course, any Tory-run plan to increase the pension age means people in the targeted age range will automatically lose thousands of pounds in pension entitlement with no right to recompense.

And they will probably be informed about the change in a completely inadequate manner, meaning they will have no opportunity to make alternative plans.

It is a trapdoor leading to poverty.

Labour’s manifesto offers a much more reasonable view: “The Conservatives have repeatedly raised the state pension age despite overseeing a decline in life expectancy.

“Labour will abandon the Tories’ plans to raise the State Pension Age, leaving it at 66. We will review retirement ages for physically arduous and stressful occupations, including shift workers, in the public and private sectors.”

This reflects the different aims of the Labour and Conservative parties.

While the Tories want to save money (presumably so they can give it to fat cats who already have too much), Labour’s offer is to improve the quality of life for everyone.

Doesn’t that seem better all around?

Source: Pension age ‘could rise to 70’, new government figures suggest | London Evening Standard

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