Tag Archives: age

The Tories are cheating us out of our pensions – and our retirements

Arguments used by the Conservative government to justify increasing the age at which we may draw our pensions are increasingly false, it seems.

Fellow social media journalist David Hencke has all the information on his website.

He says the Tory claim is that as life expectancies continue to rise, it will be impossible for the pension fund to pay out for everybody unless the pensionable age rises too.

There’s just one problem:

Ministers always quote figures up to 2011… [the] last year of any big rise in longevity which had risen for decades.

Since then the rise has flattened – in one year it actually fell – and last year was the first in five years that showed a small rise. Next year the ONS is warning will be the first year they will have figures of the effects of Covid-19 – and the hint is that longevity will fall because of the disproportionate deaths among pensioners.

Worse still:

When you compare the UK to many other developed countries both men and women have lost out big time in the longevity stakes. The countries that make up the UK (with the exception of Northern Ireland) are all near the bottom of the table.

So while we all are being expected to wait longer for our pension in the UK, our extra weeks of life expectancy fall well below many comparable developed countries. We are being cheated – or at least not given the full facts – by our political leaders. So don’t believe any facile claims we have a world beating system for pensioners. Far from it.

The increased longevity argument was used strongly by the Department for Work and Pensions in its court battle to avoid paying compensation to 3.8 million women whose pension age rose from 60 to 66 – but who were not given enough warning to make proper preparations for it.

But our people aren’t living as much longer as people in other countries. What are those nations doing about pensions? And how are they doing it?

It seems clear that Mr Hencke is right and we are being cheated.

I wonder what we can do about it, if DWP representatives are prepared to perjure themselves in court to preserve a lie.

Source: The chances of living longer are getting shorter – new Office of National Statistics figures show only small rise in longevity | Westminster Confidential

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Tory propaganda war to push over-65s back into the workforce

Over 65? LOOK OUT: the Tories are backstabbing senior citizens by forcing them to stay in the workplace longer. In some cases, they could be literally working people to death.

This is sick from the Tories and their shills in national papers like the Express.

The state pension age is rising steadily, month by month, after successive attempts to stop the changes have failed.

This means hundreds of thousands of people at a time are being forced to wait longer for the pensions that their elders received earlier in life.

And how do papers like The Express report this?

BRITAIN’S booming economy will be powered to new heights by over-65s who want to carry on working.

Because they are being forced to work the extra time!

The nonsense continues:

The 282,000 expected to take up jobs when over 65 will be crucial to British economic performance in the years to come, say experts.

Really? Why’s that, then? And what experts?

But last night employers were urged to end age discrimination against those who still have much to offer.

Were they? Or were they just told that they have to retain people who would have retired otherwise?

You can read the Express story (if you’ve got the stomach for it) to see comments by the shills (including one from Age UK) who are supporting this propaganda bid to make pressganging people into work acceptable when they should be drawing their pensions.

You may be particularly sickened by the paragraph claiming it is “ageist” to turn down older job applicants.

It is unreasonable to accuse employers of ageism for rejecting somebody who is only looking for work because the Tories have raised the retirement age without anybody else’s consent.

If they genuinely wanted a job because they wanted to work, and were rejected, that would be ageist – but that isn’t what’s happening here. Be prepared to hear a lot of whining from Tory apologists who want to use this as justification, though.

This is pro-Tory propaganda of the lowest, sickest, vilest kind because it tries to put a shine on cruelty. But (of course) 14 million people voted for it and dragged us all into the Tory mire with them. Expect much more of this in future.

Source: Job boom for older workers: Britain’s economy to be boosted by 282,000 over-65s | UK | News | Express.co.uk

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Pension age ‘could rise to 70’, say the Tories. But what do we get in return for the delay?

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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Labour vows to help women affected by pension age changes after court lets them down

The Labour Party it will do what it can to compensate the so-called ‘WASPI’ protesters – Women Against State Pension Inequality – after the High Court ruled that the government had not discriminated against them on grounds of age and/or sex.

The government has implemented changes to the pension age for women, in order to equalise it with that for men, in a move that affected nearly four million women who were born in the 1950s – some became homeless as a result and many became suicidal.

They said not enough was done to publicise the changes and to ensure that those affected would be ready.

The UN committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women has said the rise in the pension age has added to “poverty, homelessness and financial hardship among the affected women”.

“The 1950s women helped build Britain and were let down by the government’s pension changes. They will understandably be very disappointed by today’s finding,” said shadow pensions minister Jack Dromey.

“Labour has already made commitments to support women affected, including by extending Pension Credit to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable women. We will consult further with the 1950s women affected as to what future support we can put in place once in government to help ensure that all these women have security and dignity in older age.”

Michael Mansfield QC, representing the women affected, added: “They have pushed women who were already disadvantaged into the lowest class you can imagine.

“They’re on the brink of survival, and I’m not overstating that. This group – especially the percentage of the group affected born in 1953 onwards – are increasingly having taken away from them four to six years’ worth of state pension. We’re dealing with very serious sums: £37,000 to £47,000. I think any citizen would be concerned by that withdrawal.”

In a summary of the court’s decision, Lord Justice Irwin and Mrs Justice Whipple said their hands were tied: “The court was saddened by the stories contained in the claimants’ evidence. But the court’s role was limited. There was no basis for concluding that the policy choices reflected in the legislation were not open to government. In any event they were approved by Parliament.

“The wider issues raised by the claimants about whether the choices were right or wrong or good or bad were not for the court. They were for members of the public and their elected representatives.”

In fact, it seems the only person happy about the verdict was Boris Johnsons spokesperson, who crowed that it has “always been our view” the changes made were “entirely lawful and did not discriminate on any grounds”.

“Government decided in 1995 it was going to make the state pension age the same for men and women as a long-overdue move towards gender equality,” the spokesperson said. “Today the court recognised the extensive communications that the Department for Work and Pensions made to publicise these changes over many years.”

Did it?

It seems clear that there’s only one way these pensioners are going to get compensation for this decision – made by a Tory government in 1995 and implemented by a Tory government in 2010:

Elect a Labour government.

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Planned pension-age rise means most will die before ever seeing it

Iain Duncan Smith is a genuinely evil little man, isn’t he?

He spent years orchestrating the deniable deaths of uncounted (literally – the Department for Work and Pensions deliberately did not check on what happened to these people) sick and disabled people by changing the benefit assessment system to make it easier to cancel their payments.

Now the Centre for Social Justice think tank, of which he is chairman, is recommending that the age at which we may qualify for the state pension should be raised to 75 by the year 2035.

(Its previous big success – ha ha – was Universal Credit, which it dreamed up on the back of a fag packet in 2009 and which David Cameron adopted as Coalition government policy a year later.)

Apparently all the state-shrinking cuts inflicted by the Tories, along with the tax cuts they have given themselves and their super-rich friends, mean that the Treasury can no longer afford the ballooning cost of supporting an ever-increasing elderly population while the birth rate continues to decline.

Importing workers from other countries would have helped, but Brexit and the xenophobia the Tories have nurtured alongside it have put an end to that.

The aim, of course, is to avoid paying the state pension at all – to make ordinary people work until they die.

This is one of the reasons the Tories have been working to ensure that life expectancy – the age at which we may expect to die – falls.

They have succeeded in this aim, as David Hencke noted in an article last year:

“Britain is literally dying. Ever since the Tory and Liberal Democrat coalition came to power a 50 year improvement in the death rate year on year went into reverse.”

He wrote that the lowest life expectancy in April 2018 was in Glasgow, Blackpool, Dundee, West Dunbartonshire and North Lanarkshire, where men could expect to live until the age of 75.4 at the most.

Under Iain Duncan Smith’s plan, that means most men living in these places would never draw the state pension, despite having paid into it for the whole of their working lives.

As comedian George Carlin told Americans, the same now applies in the UK: “They’re coming for your social security money, they’re coming for your retirement money. They want it back.”

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Court fight over pension age exposes Tory government’s habitual sexism to women

Court battle: Anne Taylor (left) and Patsy Franklin from the campaign BackTo60 outside the Royal Courts of Justice in central London.

The court bid for a judicial review into the way the government raised the retirement age for women should be welcomed by all those who oppose discrimination.

The case highlights the way women born in the 1950s were told they would have to wait an extra six years before receiving their pensions.

For many, the announcement came out of the blue. The legislation to carry out the change was passed quietly, many years ago, and none of them received any formal notification at the time.

This meant they were financially unprepared for the impact of the delay when the Conservative government finally told them about it.

The issue highlights the sexism of the current Conservative government. Women were hardest-hit by the Tory cuts to state benefits and services, brought in under the banner of austerity.

According to barrister Michael Mansfield QC, the pension changes put women at a significant disadvantage in comparison with men.

He said the fact that many women born in the 1950s were not told about the changes until shortly before the time when they expected to retire caused many of them “significant detriments”.

And he pointed out that women born in the 1950s had already suffered “considerable inequalities in the workplace”, which he said were the result of “historical factors and social expectations”.

The Tories don’t care, of course. They saw the increase in the female pension age as an opportunity to make a significant saving on one of the largest budgets on the government’s books.

And they will no doubt argue that it is right for the retirement age to be equalised.

But it will be for the court to decide whether they way they went about that equalisation was in any way reasonable.

Women born in the 1950s whose retirement age was increased from 60 to 65 have gone to court seeking a judicial review of how the government raised the retirement age and to try to force the government to repay their lost pensions.

Nearly 4 million women have been forced to wait up to an extra six years to get their pensions after changes to bring women’s retirement age into line with men’s.

Two claimants have now taken the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to court, arguing that raising their pension age “unlawfully discriminated against them on the grounds of age, sex, and age and sex combined”.

Source: Women born in 1950s take fight against rising pension age to court | UK news | The Guardian

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While we were blithering about Brexit, the Tories were punishing the poor – AGAIN

Tory attempts at sleight-of-hand really are astonishing.

We’ve just had two days in which all attention has been concentrated on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the so-called “meaningful vote” on it, and the vote of “no confidence” in the Conservative government that arose from that.

But the mechanism of government has been working as usual in the background, and a few announcements were allowed to slip out quietly while we were looking the other way. It seems while we’ve been worrying about how Mrs May’s Brexit will affect everybody in the UK, her government has been picking on the poor – as usual:

  • The time at which couples of mixed ages transition onto the state pension has been changed so that, where previously it happened when the older partner reaches state pension age, from May 15 this year it will happen when the younger partner reaches pensionable age. Age UK has described this as a “substantial stealth cut” that could cost some couples £7,000 a year.
  • It was revealed that childcare workers have suffered a real-terms pay cut of five per cent since 2013, and now receive around 40 per cent less than the average female worker. Almost half of childcare workers claim state benefits or tax credits.
  • And, of course, those who are claiming benefits might have trouble finding their local job centre as the DWP may have shut it down. Employment Minister Alok Sharma was recently slated for telling Labour’s Angela Eagle to visit her local job centre when it had been closed by his department.

Meanwhile the death count due to Tory benefits incompetence continues to rise, with the DWP releasing figures showing 21,000 claimants of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) have died while waiting to be assessed.

Despite these fatalities, a report by the Office For Budget Responsibility has revealed that instead of cutting the cost of disability benefits by 20 per cent – as the DWP claimed – PIP has increased costs by 15-20 per cent.

While the Conservative government has been attacking the poor, and especially those on benefits, with nearly nine years of cuts, of which the above are merely the latest – coupled with a propaganda campaign tarring claimants as “skivers”, “work-shy” and “scroungers”, research has shown that Westminster’s policy – of squeezing benefits to force people into any job available – is completely wrong; it is in countries that have a generous benefit system that a culture of strivers flourishes and people in those countries are more likely to look for work and less likely to be dependent on benefits.

But then, we only have the Conservatives’ word that they are trying to “encourage” people into work with their policies.

From what we’ve seen, it’s far more likely they are trying to encourage people into the grave instead.

Tory hypocrisy exposed again: They oppose votes at 16 while letting 15-year-olds choose their leader

David Lidington stood in for Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions on January 31.

This is shameful, isn’t it?

If you didn’t hear the exchange between Emily Thornberry and David Lidington at PMQs, it included the following, from Ms Thornberry:

At 16, we are free from parental control, we can leave home, we can start a family, we can get married, we can start work, we can pay taxes and we can join the forces, so can he give us a logical explanation of why a 16-year-old should not have the right to vote?

To this, Mr Lidington replied thus:

it was the last Labour Government who raised the legal age for buying cigarettes to 18, raised the age for selling knives to 18, raised the age for buying fireworks to 18 and raised the age for using a sunbed to 18.

It’s a valid point – although there is an argument in that all the things for which Labour raised the legal age are potentially harmful, whereas voting is usually done in the interests of the person concerned and (it is to be hoped) the nation as a whole.

And now we learn that Mr Lidington was taking a completely false position, because the Conservative Party allows votes at 15 in its own internal elections.

Perhaps he thought it doesn’t matter so much, because the average age of his party members is 72.

David Lidington has been accused “hypocrisy” for suggesting 16-year-olds lack the “sufficient maturity” to vote in general elections, despite teenagers aged 15 and over apparently being allowed to vote in Tory leadership contests.

Under Conservative Party rules, 16 and 17 year olds are allowed to become full members of the party.

“There is no upper or lower age limit on membership, although children under the age of 15 cannot be enrolled as full voting members,” party guidelines state.

Members have rights including “one member, one vote in the election of the Leader of the Party” and “a vote in the selection of candidates for Westminster and Europe”.

It costs just £5 for anyone under the age of 22 to join while it costs £25 for anyone over the age of 23.

Source: Tory ‘Hypocrisy’ For Opposing Votes At 16 While Letting Teens Pick Party Leader


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Life expectancy falls AGAIN as Tory cuts bite into our health

Residents in post-industrial towns were more likely to die younger than those in the southeast [Image: Getty].

It isn’t that long since people were telling me life expectancy wasn’t dropping.

They said figures showed the increase in the age to which we could hope to live was slowing down.

Would anybody like to suggest that now?

Last April, The Independent reported that men could expect to live to 87, on average, and women to 89.

Now, the same newspaper is saying that, by 2041, the average age of death will be 83.4 for men and 86.2 for women.

That’s a major fall in life expectancy.

And – read the extract below – it’s all due to Conservative government policies. They are engineering early deaths for us all.

Life expectancy in some parts of the UK has plummeted, according to official figures.

By 2041, women will live to 86.2 years and men 83.4 years, projections by the Office for National Statistics showed – a decrease of almost a whole year compared to previous figures released in 2015.

An analysis of the data, conducted by Public Health England, found alarming disparities in longevity by local authority.

Danny Dorling, professor of human geography at the University of Oxford, said influenza, obesity, alcohol and smoking could largely be ruled out as contributory factors.

“The fall in life expectancy in several geographical areas of England is most likely a result of the effects of public service cuts and austerity,” he said. “Many other possibilities can be ruled out. Rates of smoking and drinking alcohol have fallen in recent years so that cannot be blamed. Between 2009 and very late 2017 there has been no serious influenza outbreak.

“A government that has chosen to make these cuts, and any of the organisations it directly sponsors, will understandably find this very hard to face up to.”

Source: Life expectancy in parts of the UK plummets by more than a year


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Labour forces vote demanding equality impact assessment of Tory economic policies

For information:

Labour has secured a vote to force the Government to assess the impact of social security changes and fiscal measures on disadvantaged groups.

The Government failed to meet Labour’s demand for the Budget to be audited on the basis of gender, race, age, disability, class and region. Other parties have now joined Labour calls for transparency, with 127 MPs from Labour, the Lib Dems, SNP and the Greens, signing Dawn Butler’s letter to Justine Greening calling for all Government policy to be assessed for their impact on disadvantaged groups.

Although the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) places a legal responsibility on public bodies, including the Treasury, to conduct equality assessments, the Treasury has failed to publish adequate equalities audits of its fiscal measures.

This comes as analysis shows that 86 per cent of tax and social security changes continue to fall on women and women only received two thirds of the spending men received in this budget.

Dawn Butler MP, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Minister, said: “The Tories’ failed austerity project has hit the most vulnerable groups in our society the hardest, forcing women, ethnic minority communities and disabled people to pay the highest price.

“The Finance Bill represents more of the same for groups with protected characteristics who have borne the brunt of Conservative economic failure for too long. We need a detailed assessment to reveal the full damage of Tory austerity.

“The next Labour government will ensure that we publish comprehensive equality impact assessments to enable us to truly build an economy that works for the many, not the few.”

Source: Labour Press — Labour secures vote on amendment to force equality…


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