Tag Archives: pension

Will Sunak bow to pressure over cost of living – or will he stick to doing the wrong thing?

Rishi Sunak: he knows he’s doing wrong but he’s doing it anyway.

With Parliament about to reconvene with a new legislative programme, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is being urged to (at last) address the cost-of-living crisis.

The British Chambers of Commerce have called for a three-point plan that would slash VAT on energy bills from 20 per cent to five per cent, offer free Covid tests for companies and the reversing of a recent National Insurance hike.

You can read the rationale for it here.

Sunak is making vague noises about tax cuts – which would be just as well, considering his government has inflicted more tax hikes on the UK’s population than any other in decades.

But he hasn’t actually done anything yet.

Instead, it seems, he’s taking billions from pensioners by freezing something called the Lifetime Allowance for five years.

Confused? So was I. Here‘s the lowdown:

The Lifetime Allowance is currently £1,073,100, which may seem substantial to many.

However, many could find themselves propelled over this sum due to the Chancellor’s decision to freeze the Lifetime Allowance for five years.

It is thought a saver who withdraws cash in a lump sum will lose an extra £180,125 to the taxman by 2025.

The figure represents the tax payable on the difference between the frozen lifetime allowance and the £1.4million had the sum been unfrozen.

Apparently this means he’ll take £6 billion off of people, when he’s being asked to let us keep more.

How is that supposed to help?

Source: Rishi Sunak urged to announce emergency budget as living costs spiral

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Guaranteed Minimum Pensions holders set to lose thousands due to DWP disdain

The Tory government has shafted pensioners – again.

Around 11 million people were contracted out of the State Earnings-Related Pensions Scheme by their employer, on condition that they would receive an index-linked guaranteed minimum pension.

This arrangement, for anyone in the private sector, was scrapped when the new state pension was introduced in 2016 – but remains in place for public sector workers.

The decision to scrap it was never mentioned in Parliament or in any Pensions legislation.

Women are the most seriously affected. Everybody involved is losing cash ranging from a few pounds a week to tens of thousands over the lifetime of their pension.

That’s the historical situation.

Now, after two people won £1,250 each in compensation after complaining to the Ombudsman, the government has decided not to ensure that everybody affected – who might also deserve payment – is told.

The Ombudsman recommended action “to ensure that affected individuals receive appropriate communication from the DWP [Department for Work and Pensions] about their state pensions”.

But in response, all the DWP has done is publish a factsheet on the GOV.UK website. It has not informed anybody who is affected by the changes that the factsheet exists, or even put out a press release.

You can read the factsheet here – and by publishing the link, This Site has done more to inform those affected than the UK government.

Taking this into account, it should be no surprise that only 6,922 people have read the factsheet and only four people (according to DWP Permanent Secretary Peter Schofield) have made inquiries about it.

None received any compensation because Schofield said they were not eligible.

So, of a possible 11 million people affected by the GMP change, the DWP’s tailor-made strategy (in response to an Ombudsman’s recommendation, remember) has reached nobody.

As intended?

Read a deeper analysis of the implications here: Rip off: DWP to take no further action to compensate millions who lost thousands of pounds of extra pensions | Westminster Confidential

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DWP blocks study of links between benefit sanctions and death. What are the Tories trying to hide?

‘Bring out your dead’: this satirical image shows public opinion of the limits of DWP concern for people the Tory government department deprives of the money they need to live.

A groundbreaking study of possible links between benefit sanctions and claimant ill-health – including mental illness and suicide – has ground to a halt because Tory ministers are not co-operating.

After making a big show of supporting the Glasgow University research back in 2019, DWP ministers immediately insisted that new security protocols would be required before they released the necessary data.

It took two years for the new protocols to be completed – and when they reached completion last year, the DWP demanded that researchers should apply for the data all over again.

Prof Nick Bailey, who is heading the Glasgow sanctions project, said that had the data been shared as originally agreed with the DWP in 2018, his research would have been in the public domain by early 2020. It is now five years since the research process for the project was supposed to have started and it has yet to get under way.

“The consequence for both policymakers and benefit claimants is we continue to operate an important policy, sanctions, which has potentially substantial consequences for those affected by it but with very little evidence of the impact of the policy, and almost none on the wider impacts,” said Bailey.

A recent Glasgow University paper analysing international studies of sanctions reported “significant associations with increased material hardship and health problems” as well as evidence sanctions “were associated with increased child maltreatment and poorer child wellbeing”.

The DWP has said it is now “actively considering” the data request that was originally made back in 2018 – nearly four years ago.

But what are we – the public – to make of this?

Does the Department for Work and Pensions have something to hide – such as complicity in the deaths of thousands of benefit claimants?

This Writer – and This Site – forced the government to reveal that thousands of people had died of unexplained causes within two weeks of being denied their benefits, all the way back in 2015.

Nothing was done to research the deaths – or to find out what had happened to people who had been denied benefits after the two-week period the DWP monitored.

And that was nearly seven years ago.

It seems to me that the DWP is deliberately concealing information on behalf of its masters in the Conservative government; the demand for extraordinary security procedures is just an excuse.

And it seems to me that there can be only one reason for hiding the information – that there is a link between benefit sanctions and claimant deaths, and DWP bosses have known about it for many years.

I challenge the DWP – and the Conservative government – to prove me wrong.

Source: DWP blocks data for study of whether benefit sanctions linked to suicide | Benefits | The Guardian

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Pension triple lock scrapped for a year. But will the Tories stop there?

This Site predicted the suspension of the pensions triple lock, so it’s no surprise here.

The problem with the commitment to increase pensions every year by the highest of pensions, earnings or 2.5 per cent is that it did not anticipate a huge fall in earnings like that caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, followed by a similarly whopping rise when everybody went back to work and pay packets re-balanced.

It meant the highest of the three benchmarks – this year – is a massive eight per cent increase. And the Tories don’t want to pay it.

Back in July, I suggested the Tories were making a big fuss about nothing because they could impose a stop-gap increase that reflects the increase in the cost of living (which is what the triple lock is supposed to do).

It turns out that the Tories are doing something similar. Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey said that – for this year only – pensions would rise by inflation or 2.5 per cent, whichever is higher. The earnings increase will be restored to the calculation next year.

The decision has caused bitter resentment in some quarters, because people are upset that the Tories have broken a manifesto promise.

But this misses the point completely.

The point is that the UK state pension is one of the worst pension deals in the whole world.

On retirement, our pensioners will receive, on average, 29 per cent of their former earnings. This compares with an increase of 0.6 per cent in the Netherlands, more than 90 per cent of former earnings in Portugal, Italy and Austria, and an OECD (Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development) nations’ average of nearly 63 per cent.

In fact, the UK’s pensions deal comes in at slightly worse than that provided in… Mexico.

This was a chance to level up the UK pension with some of our closest neighbours – but the Tories didn’t want to. That’s why people should be angry.

Of course, with the national insurance increase that the Tories say will pay for social care (eventually), pensioners will be worse off than ever – because pensioners who are still earning an income will pay towards it.

And there’s another aspect to this.

It is the rivalry between the old and the young over state benefits, the perception that pensioners get more than their fair share, and that they should lose some in order to correct a perceived imbalance.

This is utter piffle.

As Craig Berry states in The Guardian,

We can and should spend more on social security for young and old people alike.

To believe that a Conservative government would invest what it saves by removing the triple lock on today’s young people requires some magical thinking.

In practice, by reducing the state pension accrual rate (the entitlements we build up in return for paying national insurance), scrapping the triple lock would effectively amount to a significant tax hike on young people.

That’s because the tax they pay now would entitle them to a lower income in retirement than previously anticipated.

So it is ridiculous to suggest that we need to cut pension increases in order to help the young. It simply won’t happen.

Let’s face it – it simply hasn’t happened.

The (alleged) social care-related increase to National Insurance will affect young people and pensioners alike.

Because that’s what Tories are like.

They don’t take away from one group that needs help, in order to give to another.

They take from both, in order to give to themselves – as you can see with Boris Johnson’s National Insurance hike.

My only question is, do we believe them when they say they’re going to bring the triple lock back?

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#DWP bungled #Waspi women’s #pension-age rise. How long must they wait for #compensation?

WASPI protesters: this image is from 2016 and women born in the 1950s had already spent years protesting against the way the Department for Work and Pensions mistreated them.

The so-called Waspi women have finally won recognition that they were mistreated by the government, after an ombudsman found maladministration by the Department for Work and Pensions.

But they won’t get any compensation for it – at least, not yet – because the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) has no power to order it.

The PHSO found that the DWP failed to act quickly enough, once it knew a significant proportion of women were not aware that the age at which they would qualify for the state pension was going up.

It should have written to the women affected by the change, at least 28 months – more than two years – earlier than it did.

The ombudsman’s report said

Between 1995 and 2004, accurate information about changes to State Pension age was publicly available in leaflets, through DWP’s pensions education campaigns, through DWP’s agencies and on its website.

[But the DWP} failed to give due weight to relevant considerations, including what research showed about the need for ‘appropriately targeted’ information, what was known about the need for individually tailored information, or how likely it was doing the same thing would achieve different results. Despite having identified more it could do, DWP failed to provide the public with as full information as possible. DWP failed to make a reasonable decision about next steps in August 2005.

It did not ‘get it right’. And its failure to use feedback to improve service delivery meant it did not ‘seek continuous improvement’. That was maladministration.

DWP then failed to act promptly on its 2006 proposal to write directly to affected women, or to give due weight to how much time had already been lost since the 1995 Pensions Act.

It did not ‘get it right’ because it did not meet the requirements of the Civil Service Code, and it did not take all relevant considerations into account. And it failed again to use feedback to improve service delivery and ‘seek continuous improvement’. That was also maladministration.

The maladministration led to a delay in DWP writing directly to women
about changes in State Pension age. If the maladministration had not happened, DWP would have begun writing to affected women by December 2006 at the latest, 28 months earlier than it did (in April 2009).

It follows that affected women should have had at least 28 months’ more individual notice of the changes. For women who were not aware of the changes, the opportunity that additional notice would have given them to adjust their retirement plans was lost.

The investigation is not over; its next stage will consider the impact that the injustice had on the women it affected.

The co-chairs of the All-party parliamentary group on State Pension Inequality for Women, Andrew Gwynne (Labour) and Peter Aldous (Conservative) have both welcomed the findings.

“The DWP must urgently address these findings, and advise 1950s women what actions they will take to right the wrongs committed by successive Governments. For too long 1950s women have been ignored, and this must change,” said Mr Gwynne.

And Mr Aldous added: “We now must see a cross-party effort to sort this problem out. This issue is bigger than any administration and has been raised repeatedly over the last 25 years. The PHSO findings must now be scrutinised by the DWP and parliament, and then we must set out about compensating women for this injustice.”

It seems the DWP itself isn’t ready to comment yet:

Waspi women have already waited many years for an admission that they were mistreated by the government, and that they have suffered loss as a result.

It seems they may not have to wait even longer before getting any compensation for the loss they have suffered and the huge amount of distress it has caused.

Source: Women’s state pension: Compensation closer for Waspi campaigners – BBC News

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Why are the Tories making such a big fuss about pensions?


Poor Tories, complaining about giving a pay rise of eight per cent to pensioners.

They don’t reckon it’s fair that OAPs should get such a huge increase, and to be honest, they’re right.

The problem is in the so-called Triple Lock guarantee, that means pensions rise in line with the rising cost of living seen in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation, increasing average wages, or 2.5%, whichever of those three is highest.

The guarantee did not anticipate wages falling by a huge amount in any particular year, and then rising back to – or beyond – their original level, as is happening now.

This means that, because pensions did not fall, pensioners seem set for a windfall. The Tories reckon that is unfair and, in fairness, they have a point.

But there’s a simple solution. Instead of increasing according to the difference between last year’s wages and this year’s, they could calculate the difference between the wages of the year before – in other words, before Covid affected wages – and now, adjust it according to the amount that pensioners received last year, compare that figure with CPI and the 2.5 per cent figure, and increase pensions by whichever of those three numbers is highest.

It’s not rocket science.

The problem is that the Tories simply don’t want to give pensioners anything at all.

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‘Compassionate Conservatism’: Covid deaths to cut state pension costs, says BBC

This BBC story could explain much about the Corporation’s wholehearted support for Rishi Sunak, even though he’s utterly vile.

The Beeb presents as a good news story the deaths of so many over-65s that the cost of paying pensions is set to plummet by £1.5 billion by 2022.

And wait! because there’s even more Good News!

The government will also receive an extra £0.9bn from inheritance tax, partly due to Covid-related deaths.

Every cloud has a silver lining, eh? As in thirty pieces of silver, if you recognise the reference.

Here’s an interesting slip, though:

More than 144,000 deaths involving Covid-19 have occurred in the UK since the start of the pandemic, figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show.

That’s 21,000 more than the official figure of 123,000 at the time of writing.

I think somebody’s been lying again – don’t you?

Source: Budget 2021: Covid deaths set to cut state pension costs – BBC News

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Is Department for Transport planning ‘all-out assault on jobs, pay and pensions’?

Two-fingered salute: Boris Johnson’s message of thanks to transport workers who kept groceries, other goods and medical supplies moving during the Covid-19 crisis. His government is apparently planning to attack their jobs, pay and pensions as soon as it can.

The Tory government is planning to reward key transport workers who kept the UK running through the Covid crisis – with a kick in the teeth, it seems.

The Department for Transport is hoping to employ a “union-buster” to take on workers in an “all-out assault on jobs, pay and pensions”, according to the RMT union.

And where the DfT leads, will other government departments follow in a renewed effort to destroy workers’ representation once and for all and begin a new dark age for the people of the UK?

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Employees (RMT) reports that the DfT is recruiting for a Rail Pensions and Workforce Director who will be a member of a new-created team of 15 workers.

An advertisement in The Guardian states that the successful applicant “will shape and define the future of pensions and workforce in the rail sector”, operating in a “politically sensitive environment”.

Welfare Journal quotes RMT general secretary Mick Cash:

RMT has been warning that the Government and the employers would be gearing up for a post-COVID assault on our members across the transport sector and here they are headhunting a dedicated hitman or woman.

It would be a scandal if the essential transport workers who have kept key staff and freight moving throughout the pandemic were rewarded with a kick in the teeth on jobs, pay and pensions.

And why not?

Matt Hancock has already slapped NHS employees in the face with his refusal to reward doctors, nurses and support staff for all their dedication, working to keep thousands of people alive in the face of indifference from their political employers who failed to source appropriate equipment.

So why shouldn’t the government tell the people who transported all the supplies – including, no doubt, the medical gear that we all needed (when it finally turned up) – that their contribution is not appreciated at all and that they will be punished rather than rewarded for it?

What did these people expect from selfish, ignorant, entitled toffs?

And what can you expect in the future? You know the Tories will get around to attacking you as soon as they’re able – don’t you?

Source: Government ‘gearing up for an all-out assault on jobs, pay and pensions’ | Welfare Journal

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Torygraph politics: paper praises Tories for saving money because senior citizens have died of Covid-19

Some institutions have twisted priorities:

That’s the Daily Telegraph for you.

But doesn’t it make you question whether the Tory intention really was for Covid-19 to kill as many pensioners as possible, in order to cut the National Insurance bill?

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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

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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