PROMISE ON PENSIONS?

Margaret Thatcher began her pension reforms with the Social Security Act of 1980. This saw the correlation between average earnings and state pension increases severed, with the aim to reduce public spending. Pensions were treated like unemployment and sickness benefits (generally accepted as being short-term in nature) and increased in line with inflation.

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Inevitably this meant that the value of state pensions, like other “benefits” reduced over time and the UK system is now one of the least generous, when compared with average earnings, in the developed world. Despite great pressure from people like Barbara Castle, the Labour governments from 1997 – 2010 did nothing to reverse this. The “triple lock” (meaning that pensions should rise by, inflation, average earnings or 2%, whichever was the greatest) was introduced by the Cameron-Clegg government in 2011 as a way to try to redress this and, unless I’m misreading her, Theresa has not ruled out, indeed has hinted at, its abolition.

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It is said that Britain cannot afford even this niggardly pension due to the rise in the number of people annually reaching retirement age, and their propensity, having reached it, to live much longer than they used to. It is true that pensions cost over £100 billion a year, and that due to mismanagement of finances over the years, not a single penny of this is “funded”. In short, it has to come out of current taxation. Apparently, no one had the foresight to account for the inevitable ageing of the baby boomers or, despite it being a gradual process, the lengthening of life expectancy.

Of course, the pension age is rising to 66 by 2020, and then to 68 by 2028… and presumably on an ever upward trajectory as life expectation rises. But this will make little difference to the overall cost, as vast numbers of 60+ people are unemployed and although life expectancy has increased, people are not necessarily proportionally healthier as they grow older.

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I was somewhat surprised to see the Express’s front page story about Mrs May being more popular than any other prime minister since Churchill on the basis of her pensions pledge. I thought what she said was pretty ambiguous.

Of course pensions will rise. Even under Mrs Thatcher they rose. But Hammond has hinted that they may be subject to the same sort of restraints as other benefits…ie a reduction in real value.

amay

All is not lost though. If you wish to do well as an OAP you could do worse than become an MP. They seem to have received generous pay increases in the recent past, and of course, at £300 a day, a peer of the realm is well rewarded for snoozing his life away.

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IT MAKES YOU THINK

 

athink
That ended well, didn’t it?
aaa
Maybe he’ll soon be doing that for a living?
Acon
Pretty unfortunate choice of words, Ruth.
a fluffy
You know, I use Twitter and Facebook and it never costs me that kind of money.
acosts
I’ve wondered why, if the EU costs us so much money, we’re going to have to put up taxes and cancel spending projects when we leave, as opposed to having money to burn.
adefence
Well, that could explain stuff.
aduncan
Ooops… mouth, foot, insert.
adennis
No, she will not.

 

 

amyth
Murray has been trying this one on us again.  He’s surely not stupid enough not to know this, so he must be lying.
aloved
Hey, Adam, we can feel the love. Hope you had a good St George’s day.
AWHAT
Good to see that the Tories will be campaigning on local issues. Ha bloody ha.
brex
Hmmmm, OK, now what, Tess?
aedl
It’s funny, these guys are protesting about women wearing the hajib. Still, they probably look better covered up.

SOPPY SUNDAY

 

no3
Amazing. It’s that time again.
ncolorado
Colorado
N gullfoss
Gullfoss, Iceland.
n balvenie castle
Balvenie Castle, Dufftown.
n newfoundland
The first iceberg of the year in Newfoundland.
npen
Munguin’s relatives.
N Osprey
Osprey
N puppy
Reminds me of my childhood dog, Mac. 
n rain
Look, look, look to the rainbow.
nsahara
Sunrise in the Sahara. My friend, Eileen, got out of bed at 4 am to get this for you. Be grateful!!
Nrhino
Someone’s mum is her best friend.
n pand
Awww… who’s cute then?
nred
Erm… me?
ngrouse
Grouse have a tendency to look rather superior, don’t they?
IMG_20170223_163454867
A rather tame sheep we found in Fife.
IMG_20170228_144959334
An old fencing post in Backmuir Woods, Muirhead, that someone leaves gifts on. An ancient tradition started by us. 
n lambs
If anyone says anything about mint sauce Munguin will be displeased.
norang
So, you lot, don’t you wish you had a swing like this?
nskara
Skara.
Nskye
Skye.

 

THE SOLUTION FOR ALL THESE SNPers

asnp

Interesting, Alex.  I’ve looked for your profile on Facebook, but I can’t find it and so am unable to answer you directly. But, I want to help you out here so let me try to put your mind at rest.

“SNPers” don’t really take the debate away from the real issues, well no more than other voters do anyway. Because you see, we talk about things that are happening in our bit of what you call Great Britain. That’s Scotland. (Incidentally, Great Britain is the name of the big island comprising Scotland, Wales and England (along with Cornwall). Great being a translation from the French of “Grande” and Britain from “Bretagne” (so Large Brittany).

Actually, your country is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  (At least for the moment.) Even if you dislike the Irish as much as you appear to dislike the Scots, you just can’t dismiss them completely.

So, all that stuff comprises understandable errors in your statement which we are pleased to be able to correct.

The second paragraph, though, is a little different.makes you sound like a raving Nazi nutter. Rounding up people and executing their leaders makes you appear demented, and we’re not really qualified to deal with that.

It makes you sound like a raving Nazi nutter. Rounding up people and executing their leaders makes you appear demented, and we’re not really qualified to deal with that.

Our advice would be to seek help from a professional.

Just in case you come across this post (and we hope you do) we’d love to know to which political party you feel an allegiance (although we think we can probably guess!).