Socialist Worker

Pensions - the Tory assault that targets all working people

Issue No. 2257

The government’s Pensions Bill had its second reading in parliament on Monday of this week.

The media focused on its impact on women. From 2018 women will have to work until 65, which immediately affects around 300,000 women over the age of 50. The government claims its reforms will bring “equality” between men and women.

But the assault won’t simply hit women, disgraceful as that is. It will whack all ordinary people—working class women and men will have to work until they’re 68 by 2020.

The reforms are sold to us on the lie that we are all living longer. Work and pensions minister Iain Duncan Smith claims that life expectancy has risen to 89 for men and 90 for women.

But the government’s Office for National Statistics says average life expectancy for men born between 2006 and 2008 is around 77, while for women it is around 81. And this masks big differences based on class.

Life expectancy for male manual workers now aged 65 has risen by just two and a half years since 1972 and for women the rise is just over a year.

The Marmot Review last year found that more than three quarters of people experience significant illness by the age of 68.

We should reject the Tories’ equality of misery—and demand the retirement age is lowered, not raised, for all workers.

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What We Think
Tue 21 Jun 2011, 18:00 BST
Issue No. 2257
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