Wednesday, 22 September 2010

1947 + 65 YEARS =..........OH, 2012! ......DUH

I was incredulous when I read in The Herald that, when confronted with the fact that there will be a vast increase in the number of pensioners in 2012 as the baby boomer generation reached 65, that the Department of Work and Pensions described it as “staggering”.

They were apparently completely unaware of this impending increase in the number of people reaching pensionable age. Their forward planning obviously didn’t make any use of the statistical information that has been available to them for, ...well around 65 years, that the number of births in the post war years was incredibly high and that these people would all start to claim pensions at the same time. Well duh!

In fact more than 800,000 people in the UK will hit 65 in 2012. Aberdeen will see the biggest rise at a 33% rise compared to 2010, whilst Edinburgh will see a 25% increase.

The London government wants to bring forward a rise in the state pension age, and decisions are expected shortly. Some more good news for us all, no doubt. Plans have already been laid to increase retirement age to 68 between 2024 and 2046, but it now looks like these proposals may be have to be brought forward in order to reduce the impact of the increase on the economy (and of course the bankers' bonuses, which are sacrosanct) in view of the fact that someone in the DWP has woken up to the fact that if you had a massive increase in births in 1947, unless they all died prematurely, you would have a massive increase in pensioners 65 years later. Do we pay these people?

At present, the state pension age is 65 for men and, for some bizarre reason in this age of equality, 60 for women born before April 5 1950.

You can always rely on a government minister to say something patronising and superior and Pensions Minister Steve Webb (of expenses fame), was no exception to the rule: “People”, he said, “are now living longer, healthier lives and most 65-year-olds can expect to live until their late 80s. State pensions need to reflect this and we need to make sure that the system is sustainable in the face of increasing longevity.” So there!

He clearly knows a lot about ordinary people’s lives and ordinary workplaces then. Silly twerp.

Needless to say, with the worst state pension provision in the Western world, thanks to Maggie Thatcher, and one of the worst company final salary situations thanks to Gordon Brown, most pensioners are probably going to die of starvation or cold long before they get to their late 80s. And if they don’t they will wish they had as state provision for them disappears quicker than Lord Ashcroft when a tax demand arrives on his mat.

Incidentally, if any government minister happens to come upon this story (well Steve Webb could be one of these self important prats that Googles his own name), could you please note that in Scotland the weather is a lot colder than in England, and already people are putting their heating on.... or are sitting in the cold, whilst in London the temperatures have reached 25 ˚C.



  2. The reason women were initially given the official age of 60 was that most brought up families and worked full-time or didn't work until their children were old enough. Also many women don't get the full pension because the paid the 'married woman's stamp'. Just 20 years ago a woman was completed exhausted by the age of 60.

    It's fair nowadays that both have the same pension age but not 40 years ago. Back then far more people started work at 16/17. Now many don't start until 20/21 because they go to college or uni.

    Don't get me going on about Steve Webb. You should know by now that Westminster is for England Tris.

  3. LOL CH... it doesn't look like that wee eejit will have to worry his "pretty???" little head over it then... We're doomed!! We're all dooooomed!

  4. I rather suspect that many men were exhausted too SR, working down mines and in foundries, lifting and carrying heavy loads.

    I have always believed absolutely in equality of standing beteen women and men. So I think it's wrong that there is or ever was a difference for whatever reason, specially given that women on average live a good deal longer than men.

    At one stage I believe that a man who retired at 65 would be lucky to have 2 years of retirement, whereas a woman who retired at 60 could expect 12 years before she died.

    I accept that the governmnet is going to equalize this but I wonder why there is no difference in France?

  5. Tris, very funny indeed. Naughty, naughty with that needless Tory bashing. No doubt the libertarians will up to high dudgeon about it- oh no probably not, after all they are not usually keen on restrictions to their own liberties are they, only everyone else’s!

    I fully agree on this nonsense that women are allowed to retire five years earlier than men. Totally unfair.

  6. Och Munguin, I wasn't Tory bashing at all. How could you think that of me?

    I was certainly having a go at the crass stupidity of the idiot management at the DWP upon whom, it appears all these people just crept up.... Wicked the way pensioners do that to you!

    If there is any political responsibility for that it is Labour's. They could have started preparing the DWP or whoever was there before them, for this fact, simple enough for even a Labour cabinet minister to grasp.

    And as for wee Webbie, he's a Liberal patronising git, not a Tory one...

    So there you are. I never bashed a single Tory, even if i had a wee swipe at old Baron Belize of Taxhaven. (That's like Stonehaven only for super rich people.)

  7. Do they have an outdoor swimming pool as well? poooosh.

  8. Tris I'm very sorry about that. Liberal/Tory they all seem so much the same nowadays it was an easy mistake to make.

  9. Filled with champagne sans doute!

  10. Yep Munguin. A little like the end of "Animal Farm" really

  11. Hurumph.

    My university pension arrangement is just about to chopped by 30% and my union, the very moderate UCU (I wouldn't be a member if they weren't moderate), are just about to ballot for strike action on this issue and the planned, astonishing levels of job cuts in targeted departments. That's all a Labour achievement, of course.

    But while I am grateful to Munguin, for once, for his succinct overview of the UK pension tsunami that's about to hit people south and north of Hadrian's Wall thanks to BROWN, I still think he's playing the same game he always plays in merely aping the more militant unions: he's seizing on an issue and jumping on a bandwagon just to further his own agenda (whatever that actually is - I hear it has something to do with the ins and outs of Scottish nationhood).

    Frankly, therefore, it's once again clear he doesn't really care one way or the other, or has any genuine stake in, the issue or the outcome to which he has apparently attached himself. And that just doesn't cut it for me. It lacks integrity and credibility. It certainly lacks class.

    What Mungin is toying with in his blog here are, in fact, very real battles affecting very real people, like me - right now. We neither need nor want in the challenges that lie ahead for us the ideological baggage of, for example, a Scottish Bob Crow or, for that matter, any kind of irrelevant, minor-league fanatical nationalism.

    What we need are honest representatives with no agenda other than their role (as honest representatives) defending the working conditions and futures of their members by guiding government policy on the basis of the principle of fairness (the Vice Chancellor shouldn't be earning £300K with a bullet proof retirement package when he's firing people, for instance, or when he's telling people they're about to lose their pensions).

    So, if you're going have the sheer brass balls to think you have the right to talk about us, which you clearly do, then expect some criticism. You're the one leaving yourself exposed to possible, justifiable, resentment. "Who does he think he is?" people with any sense who will have read your latest effort here will be asking themselves.

    Who indeed.

  12. Tris.

    Was that Subrosa wagging her finger at you? lol.

    It is amazing we spend millions of pounds for people to foresee future demographic changes so we can plan ahead but clearly its a waste of money .

    Like most other European countries we are seeing an aging population and people are now living longer, thankfully! To increase the pension age is a bit of a taboo. If you work in a nice 9-5 job pushing buttons all day then clearly working on for a few years after retirement is okay but if you work in a job where you are lifting stuff etc then I can see those people will have an issue with working longer.

    My own job I could easily (if I stay healthy) continue on after retirement and probably would because it would beat playing chess every morning.

    In my own opinion it should be about choice. Keep the retirement age at 65 but give the choice to the people. No numpty is going to tell me that I'm too old to work on.

  13. Denver: thank you, yet again, for that late night contribution. Only one teeny problem with it. I didn’t actually write this succinct pensions overview. So I’m afraid your most recent instalment of me bashing has rather been a fruitless waste of words. So I won’t take offence and I won’t bother to attempt any sort of rebuttal. What I will say is that before you plough in to someone in that cack handed fashion it might be a good idea to actually read the item you’re talking about and save yourself a bit of embarrassment in the morning!

  14. Denverthen:

    Nice to see you again after quite a while.

    I can’t really see what you find to quibble with in my posting, for it was me, or I, who wrote that (gotta be careful with the grammar with an English teacher).

    The thrust of my argument, such as it was, was that I was somewhat amazed that it had come as a surprise to anyone that there would be an increase in the pension bill in 2012. The statistics have been available for 65 years. Some forward planning might have been considered. This was, therefore, a criticism of the Civil Service, and probably, by extension, all their political bosses over the years. I can’t see what you can argue with about that.

    Other points in no particular order were:

    * that Mrs Thatcher ruined the state pension in the UK and made it one of the worst in the West. It’s true.

    *that it seemed rather unfair that, after 35 years of equal everything, wimin seem to manage to get away with 5 years less work for the same money as men, despite living longer (although that last part may have been added in a comment).

    *that Gordon Brown ruined private pensions with his raid on them for tax to pay for his never ending boom.

    *that the minister was a patronizing little git, and doubly so as he was one of the few Liberals who really got stuck in when it came to fiddling his expenses.

    I fail completely to see what it was that I wrote that so offended you. Would you like to tell me? Surely it couldn’t have been my little jibe at “Lord” Ashcroft, could it?

    Incidentally I completely agree with you that it is a travesty that universities are so top-heavy with people who seem to have forsaken academe for big business and who regard, as of right, massive salaries. Like everything else it seems we have layers and layers of senior management who appear to think themselves above job losses. It occurs to me that some of them appear to have drifted off to sleep and live in a dream of High Table in Oxford, funded by titled benefactors, instead of in the staff canteen in a provincial university, paid for by tax payers.

    In the current circumstances (brought about by Gordon Brown’s incompetence and intransigence), I believe that the people at the top earning more than the First Minister should lose that portion of the salary.

    That they are not doing that underlines the point I made a few posts ago that unless the government micro-manages the cuts, we will find that management will retain their standards of living while the rest of us are sacrificed. One can only imagine what that will do for the standards of service that the public receives. Can you image one of the assistant deputy vice chancellors taking your classes?

  15. Allan....

    Well, at least she only wagged her finger. Denverthen was coming after me with a big stick.

    There are times when I wonder if it's all worth it.

    Lots of women think it is a right to retire early, and if that's what you have expected all your life, I suppose I can't argue with that.

    But women wanted equality and demand it vociferously and it gets me a bit angry when they don’t want the payback. Equality does mean equality. I used to work with a woman who was a rather strident women’s rights kind of person, but when there was office furniture to be moved, she demanded that the men do it, because (and I kid you not) she said it was “men’s work”.

    When I suggested that she might like to make the men a pot of tea because it was “wimmin’s work” she nearly sacked me on the spot.

    You make valid points about the different kind of work. There are some jobs where people have always retired early because of the exigencies of the job. Police, firemen, military, signalmen. And trying to get a job lae in life is hard. Older people often learn more slowly, have worse health and always know better how things are done. We took on one woman who, every time we told her how something was done said “In ******** we didn’t do it like that”, until we were at screaming point with her.

    Additionally, although people are living longer, maybe the minister should take a look at all the old people’s homes and nursing homes and geriatric hospitals. Yes they live into their 90s, but so many of them are sitting in chairs dribbling for the last 10 years.

    We need to be careful about using statistics for this kind of decision. Statistics can be bent to say anything.

    I completely agree with you about having a situation where people can work, if they want, for as long as they want, and for as long as they can safely and effectively do the job.

  16. Tris.

    There is no pleasing woman, funny animals lol. You should have played musical chairs with her then that would had got her shifting.

    I'm at odds with this retirement age thing. One half of me says how dare people judge me that I'm too old to work and the other half says, yes put limit on so to protect people when they hit a certain age.

    I honestly think if the government said you can work for as long as you want but if you want you can claim your state pension when you reach 65 or abouts and retire.
    I just think so many people would love to work on (boosting the coffers for the gov) and those who wish to retire will do so.

    You only have to walk into B&Q and its like walking through a geriatric ward in 9 wells lol.

  17. Yes Allan. I think a decade from 60-70 of retirement. It should be up to people to decide when they take retirement.

    It’s all very well saying that people have to work longer, but while you get pensioners with plenty of energy and loads of strength (our beloved Pétula Clark is starting a world tour at 78), there are others who are completely shot at 57.

    In B + Q there certainly is a fair number of older staff, but I note, far fewer than before. Sainsbury is another store that tried and abandoned its policy of recruiting elderly staff. Of course any kind of age discrimination is illegal now, even positive discrimination for the elderly.

    Aye women are odd creatures! No doubt about that.