Socialist Worker

Tory plans for retirement at 75 means working till death

Issue No. 2668

Iain Duncan Smith—ideas to make your life worse

Iain Duncan Smith—ideas to make your life worse


The state pension age is set to rise to 75 over the next 16 years. That’s if Boris Johnson’s favourite think tank gets its way.

It would go up to 70 just nine years from now.

A report by the Centre for Social Justice says the current government plan to raise the pension age to 67 in 2028, then 68 by 2046 is too slow.

The Centre for Social Justice is chaired by millionaire ex-welfare Secretary and Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith—and Tory governments get many of their ideas from it.

In 2009 it dreamed up Universal Credit, adopted as policy by PM David Cameron a year later.

Jan Shortt of the National Pensioners Convention is angry. “The longer you work the more ill you become and the less likely you are to even reach retirement age,” he added.

Life expectancy in Britain is no longer rising, partly as a result of austerity policies.

And the poorer you are the sooner you die.

An official report this year found, “In England, men resident in the least deprived areas could expect 13.3 years of good health from 65 years of age, but only 5.8 years if resident in the most deprived areas.”

And in Scotland men have an average life expectancy of 77. Labour’s 2017 manifesto said, “The pension age is due to rise to 66 by the end of 2020.

“Labour rejects the Conservatives’ proposal to increase the state pension age even further.”

In fact 66 is already an excessive age to wait to receive a pension. Bosses can retire much earlier.

A TUC report in 2015 found that, “Of those companies that disclosed retirement ages for executive pension schemes, 60 was the most common.”

Why should a postal worker or a cleaner or a construction worker be working to 68 or into their seventies while the boss luxuriates on a big payout?


Troublemaker reports—belatedly—a savage attack on a Rees-Mogg.

In 1852 the Sherborne Mercury reported rioting at a election hustings.

“J Rees Mogg, Esq was beaten by the rioters and escaped into a nearby house.” The mob, which had gathered in the Somerset village of Clutton, “took the hats off the Conservatives and flung them in their faces. Barrels of beer were served. This did not tranquilise the mob.”


State secrets will be staying secret again

The national Archives is holding on to more secret papers thanks to government “weeders” who carefully scrutinise every document.

More than 300 due to be released have been withheld.

This adds to the mounting pile of documents that, in their view, should be kept secret from the public for up to 100 years—or even inde?nitely.

The latest pile includes ?les on “deaths and administration of detention camps in Kenya” in 1959, and “discussions on the defence of Hong Kong 1957-61”.

One withheld paper is called, “Security: handling and destruction of classi?ed documents, 1989-94”.

Files, some relating to the royal family and to “Tube Alloys”—Whitehall code for Britain’s early nuclear weapons programme—now helpfully have “no description available”.


Children scavenge in bins for food and eat toilet paper to beat hunger, said charity Meals for More.

Up to 4.1 million children are at risk.

Some 53 percent are under five, up from 51 percent last year, and 700,000 are in "severe" poverty, up from 600,000.


Tory tax avoiding ports get go-ahead

Britain’s onshore tax havens—freeports—are going ahead under new international trade secretary Liz Truss.

She arrived at her department and told staff how fabulous it was to be “in such a hot room because, let me tell you, trade is hot”.

Truss unveiled a freeports advisory panel.

The panel’s “tax specialist” is Tom Clougherty of the Centre for Policy Studies.

One piece Clougherty wrote for the ConservativeHome website was titled, “In defence of tax havens.”

He wrote that “the existence of low tax jurisdictions gives people and companies an exit option—sometimes legal, sometimes not—through which they can escape from unfair and punitive rates of taxation”.

He added that tax havens play “an important role in making international capital markets work properly”.


Brexit Party out of Dundee

The Brexit Party has cancelled a rally in Dundee after anti-racists organised to protest against it. Nigel Farage’s party had been due to gather in Dundee on 12 September as part of a “conference tour”.

But it was cancelled apparently due to “time constraints”. A Brexit Party spokesperson said, “We are preparing for a general election and have trimmed down the Brexit Party tour.”

But the Dundee event is the only one to be cancelled—ten others remain, including in Doncaster, Southport, Newport, Exeter and London.

Activists plan to hold protests at other events against the party’s vile racism.


Police failed murder victim

Police in North Wales failed to respond to 13 reports from a woman about her abusive ex-partner—who eventually murdered her.

Jason Cooper was jailed for a minimum of 31 years after being found guilty of Laura Stuart’s murder.

Laura had contacted police 13 times to report harassment, domestic abuse, assault and threats to kill over a two-year period.

She reported that Cooper was threatening “to finish her” just days before she was killed in August 2017.

The cops’ pet watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Complaints, found that worried relatives and the ambulance service had made a further five complaints to the police.

Cooper was never arrested or questioned.


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The Troublemaker
Tue 20 Aug 2019, 12:45 BST
Issue No. 2668
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