Socialist Worker

Pensioners robbed of £52 a week

by Bartley Willcock, treasurer of Manchester TUC pensioners’ association
Issue No. 2001

Many women already receive less than the state pension

Many women already receive less than the state pension

The government has stolen £52 a week from every pensioner in Britain – and now they expect us to be grateful when they give back £1.40 and also put up the pension age for every worker!

Tony Blair and Gordon Brown have reached agreement on a pension “reform” White Paper which will be published next week.

It will say that from 2012 the rise in the basic state pension will be linked to the average rise in earnings. But this is much too

little, much too late.

Today’s 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, and the subsequent Labour government’s refusal to reverse the policy.

We are not getting that looted pension back. Instead the link will only kick in from six years time (at the soonest), giving just £1.40 extra a week.

And many of us will be dead by the time that pathetic handout arrives.

In a written parliamentary answer to Paul Flynn MP on 12 January this year, it was revealed that because the link was broken the state pension for a

single pensioner lost £33 under the Conservative government’s period in office and a further £19.50 under Labour.

As a result, the basic state pension is now £84.25 a week compared to the £136.75 it would have been had the link not been broken in 1980.

For a couple the loss of the link with earnings is even worse, with the state pension now worth just £134.75 a week compared to £219.10 as it would have been.

If it’s right to restore the link we should get all the money back.

And if that was not enough, there is a dreadful sting in the tail.

Reports indicate the state pension age will rise from 65 to 66 in 2024 and then to 68 by 2050 as part of the same White Paper.

We oppose such moves.

The assault on public sector and private sector pensions which the government and employers have been carrying out is being ratcheted up to a new level.

More and more people will be expected to work until they drop

Pensioners have been betrayed by all the main poitical parties.

It is crucial that pensioners and presently employed workers unite to fight these attacks.

If we do not stand together then this government will continue to deny us all any sort of security in retirement.

Bartley Willcock is a delegate to this week’s Pensioners’ Parliament

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Article information

Sat 20 May 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2001
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