Posts Tagged ‘Retirement Age’

Lloyd George’s Pensions Act and How the Treasury Tries to Make Welfare Take-Up Difficult

February 24, 2016

One of the things I’ve noticed is that as soon as a government roll out some new form of welfare benefit, there’s almost always an attempt immediately either to block it, or to make sure that spending on it is kept as low as possible, and that as few people as possible take it up. In the case of the Tories, this is part of the whole point of these reforms: they’re too make sure as few people qualify for the benefit as possible, but make it appear as though they’re still somehow giving help to the poor. Hence increased benefit cuts, disguised with verbiage about how benefits are being raised in real terms, or else they’re reforming the system so that its geared towards those who really need it. Or some other such nonsense.

In the case of the Labour party, opposition to increased welfare spending seems almost always to come from the Treasury, which immediately makes a statement about the need to preserve spending limits, and recommends amendments to make sure that expenditure is lower than that actually desired by those who formulated the reform. This has been going on for a very long time, almost as long as welfare benefits were introduced. Lloyd George’s pension reforms of 1908 were similarly criticised and modified by the Treasury.

Asquith, Lloyd-George’s predecessor at the Treasury under Campbell-Bannerman, had promised to introduce non-contributory state pensions in 1906. This was to be 5s a week for people over 70. Married couples would only receive 7s 6d. In 1908 Lloyd George gave into pressure from the backbenches, and removed the discrimination against married couples. However, the Treasury had also succeeded in limiting the take-up of the new benefit, was putting a limit of £7 million on the amount that could be spent on it and moving the age when it could be paid from 65 to 70. (See G.C. Peden, British Economic and Social Policy: Lloyd George to Margaret Thatcher, pp. 20-1). And the Tories have done exactly the same today. A few years ago they raised the retirement age to 70 for men, on the grounds that more of us are living and remaining active to that age. They may well be right, but I doubt that’s the only reason they raised it. It seems to me to be something they’ve wanted to do for over a century, ever since Asquith and Lloyd George brought it in. There are certain things in Tories that really don’t change. Unfortunately.

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Vox Political on the Tories Gradually Stripping the Elderly of their Pensions

February 23, 2015

Mike over at Vox Political has this article asking the question Cameron promises to protect pensioners’ benefits. Do you believe him? Mike points out that Cameron broke his election pledges not to introduce means testing for certain benefits, and to the NHS. He stated that spending on the Health Service was to be ring-fenced against cuts.

He broke these promises, and is set to break his promise to protect pensions.

The pensionable age is being raised. Firefighters will be sacked, and thus lose their pensions, if they fail the fitness test. Francis Maude wishes pensions to be accessed only through the internet, which will prevent many pensioners from getting theirs. The Tories are also going to end the protection for those on Pension Credit, and Iain Duncan Smith is mooting ending the free TV licences, bus passes and winter fuel allowance as part of his benefit cap. And pensioners will definitely be subject to the bedroom tax.

Mike’s article begins

Why should you believe a word David Cameron says?

He has repeated a pledge not to introduce means testing for benefits such as bus passes, TV licences and the winter fuel allowance, if elected (not re-elected; he didn’t get enough support for that in 2010) in May.

This is the man who “looked down the barrel of a camera” (as he describes it) in 2010, promised to protect the NHS, and to tell any cabinet minister proposing cuts to frontline services that they should go away and think again.

He is denying the state pension to increasing numbers of people with a staged plan to raise the pensionable age. Members of Parliament, meanwhile, will receive transitional protection as the pensionable age rises – meaning they won’t miss out. Members of the public fund 60 per cent of Parliamentarians’ pensions.

The article is at: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/02/23/cameron-promises-to-protect-pensioners-benefits-do-you-believe-him/.

The Republicans in America were moaning under George ‘Dubya’ Bush about how greedy senior citizens were. They would very definitely have liked to cut their pensions, but were well aware that if they did so, they’d lose vital electoral support. And so they complained bitterly about their greed and how selfish they were, when everyone else was having to tighten their belts.

The Tories have copied much of their rhetoric and strategy from the Repugs. There can be little doubt that like the Republicans, they want to get their hands on senior citizens’ pensions and cut them.

Do not trust anything Cameron says, and do not give him your vote.