Socialist Worker

Pensions round-up

Issue No. 1991

BA war council

British Airways (BA) bosses are refusing to back off over attacks on pensions and could soon face strikes by thousands of workers.

A joint body encompassing the four unions representing BA staff – the pilots’ Balpa, the T&G, GMB and Amicus – met recently for a “council of war” to coordinate their response to measures which will damage union members’ wages and retirement income.

BA chief executive Willie Walsh will reveal the details of his plans at the end of March. They will include raising the retirement age, increasing contributions, reducing benefits or a combination of all of these.

Pensions stolen

New evidence shows that pensioners are now at least £52.50 a week worse off as a direct result of the Conservative government’s decision to scrap the link between the basic state pension and average earnings in 1980. Labour have refused to reverse the policy.

The evidence contained in a written parliamentary answer to Paul Flynn MP and uncovered by the National Pensioners Convention, reveals that the state pension for a single pensioner lost £33 under the Conservative government’s period in office and a further £19.50 under Labour.

For a couple the loss of the link with earnings is even worse, with the state pension now worth £84.35 less than it should be.

Refunds ended

The government has announced it will not continue to pay the £200 council tax refund for pensioners which was introduced last year.

The payment was announced in the 2005 budget speech, prior to the election. It was aimed at all pensioner households that were paying council tax and where at least one resident was aged 65 or over.

Pensioners now face increases in council tax of up to 5 percent, rises in fuel bills of up to 25 percent and a pension increase of just £2.20 a week.

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Sat 11 Mar 2006, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1991
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