Britain’s pensioners are among the poorest in the EU, especially compared to Western Europe. There are over a million single women pensioners below the poverty line, millions relying on pension credit and benefits to keep them alive, and the majority of pensioners have an income below £12k per year. As we are the 5th richest country in the world, this is a national disgrace alongside the fact that there are millions of children living in families who earn under or near the poverty line. The impact of austerity, the cuts to benefits, the continued failure for wages to even reach the same level (adjusted for inflation) as 2008 and the rise of gig economy and zero-hours contracts means that for the majority of people living and working in the UK, life is hard and getting harder, for all ages and every generation.
We need to be building a UK in which income and wealth fairness, justice and equality is our prime concern and for older people to both defend our rights to a decent retirement while joining other generations to fight for better living and working conditions, this means bringing in fair taxation for the richest, the 1% and especially 0.1% on their wealth and income, by taxing the global companies – especially the largest Internet companies – so that they pay the same as the rest of us.
What this should also mean is that the Tory think tanks – like the wrongly named Parliamentary Intergenerational Fairness & Provision Select Committee’s Report on Tackling Intergenerational Unfairness to stop trying to blame the older generation for the poverty of the young. It is a class issues, spread across every generation, but that is exactly why they want to shift the blame onto the old.
This report is shaming to the government, the Tories, our tax and benefits system, we need to join with others to fight for our universal right for adequate income, housing, health, employment and education.
So now we know what the right wing Tory Brexit coup is really about – removing our basic rights and protections. Age and employment equality, consumer rights, protections for tenants and those living in tower blocks, protections over health and food standards, adequate pensions, environmental protections= all these things are under threat, and many of the rights we do currently have come from our being part of the EU, which is the real driving force for this British Right-wing Elitist Xenophobic Imbecilic Takeover (BREXIT). As part of their plan to make the UK a tax and money laundering haven for global billionaires this new ultra-right government needs to reduce our incomes, and our benefits, and pensions is just one part of this.
For Ian Duncan Smith’s right wing think tank, raising the retirement age to 70 and then till 75 is part and parcel of this attack on our basic incomes, so that as for the last 9 years we ordinary people will bear the brunt and work on minimal incomes until we drop dead, while the rich elite continue to live a life of rich entitlement. We must do everything we can to unite around fighting this, maintaining state pensions at a reasonable level from 67 at the latest.