Tuesday, 21 June 2011

pensions, bill

Here is what Age Uk (whose clarity of expression I like) has to say about the Pensions Bill in the UK Parliament:

What does this mean in practice? Around 330,000 women born between December 1953 and October 1954 will see their State Pension Age increased by eighteen months or longer. Those worst affected are the 30,000 or so women born between 6 March and 5 April, who will see their State Pension Age increase by a full two years. These women will be eligible to receive their State Pensions in March 2020 – meaning that a two-year increase will be introduced with less than nine years’ notice if the Bill passes unamended later this year. This makes it more difficult for women to plan for their retirements, particularly as the women affected have already seen their pension age increase from 60 under previous legislation.

Call me old-fashioned, but this is a big manufactured fuss about nothing.  Those of us who fall into this demographic (self, born 17 April 1954), like every other person with a UK National Insurance number and work record, whatever their age, needs 30 years of qualifying work to be able to receive a full state pension when they retire.  This will be 140 GB pounds a week, we are told.  Whatever the amount, people in the UK only need to have worked for 30 years to receive it (here in France it is 41) and both I and sig other (who is nine years younger than me) qualified for a full state pension quite a long time ago.  Because we worked.  That's what you do.  Unless you have someone like a rich partner who will support you in luxury.  Which is not most people.

How are these women losing out?  Nobody is taking their pension away from them, if they have qualified for it, either by, er, going to work, or by having a rich partner who pays in for them.  They will still get it.  They will just get it later if it is the state pension.  This "losing out" nonsense supposes that a woman who lives to say 84 (and which of us knows our appointed day) if she has retired at 66 instead of 60, which is likely to be the case for the demographic I belong to (personally I plan for at least 70) will in her lifetime claim less money from the State in state pension than if she had retired earlier.  Well, der.  She will still get the same amount every week.  She will just not get it for so many weeks.  Anyone would think that evil government ministers were climbing through windows to take the pension cash from the crabbed fingers of frail elderly women.  Except, think on.  This is baby boomers we are talking about.  Most of us have not retired.  We do Pilates and take younger lovers and go scuba diving and inline skating.  and, importantly, we go to work.  We fought for this, many of us.  We fought for equal pay and for the right to work alongside men.  We did not want to stay at home like our mothers had, and anyway the economic realities from the 1970s on meant that a one-income family with children living in comfort was a distant dream for most.

Of course I understand that many women take time out from the workplace to care for children.  I would have liked to do some of that myself when I was younger, except that I was the breadwinner of my family, so I went to work.  But get over yourselves.  No-one is taking your pension away.  In fact you are being given a better one.  You will just get it later.  What makes you think you have the right to possibly 50 years in retirement?  And who are you, and who are we, to say to young people in the workplace, that they have to support us for the last 50 years of our lives?  Not me.  I may retire at 70.  I hope not earlier.  But after I have I shall be economically active.

Just watch me.

Us baby boomer girls are not ready to go gentle into that good night.


Anonymous said...

Well - quite - and right on. But - I am fascinated about the other lovers. How many?
When did they take up their posts, so to speak?! Do tell!!!

Anonymous said...

Many of us will work for as long as we can (subject to being able to get jobs, due to recruiters' ageism), as pensions in the private sector are tiny for most of us.

Jonny said...

The real problems with the proposals are that private companies that take over contracted out services will not have to protect the pension status of existing public employees under TUPE, that by bringing forward the changes by 2 years, women who have planned for retirement have very little time to make new plans (not all over 60's take young lovers and go hang-gliding), and that the public pension receipt age is being pegged to the national state pension age.

Jane Griffiths said...

don't disagree with any of that Jonny

Mrs Jonny said...

What's annoying me most about it all is that I will have to carry on working longer than I had expected to - that's where I feel I'm losing out, not financially. I totally support anyone's right to work for as long as they wish to but, having worked full time since leaving education (I do not have children)I have always looked forward to finishing work at 60. Like you, I've already paid enough NI to qualify for a full state pension, and I pay into my work pension scheme too. What job opportunities will there be for young people unless we retire sooner rather than later?

dreamingspire said...

Aaah, Mrs J, there's the rub: not enough jobs. And net immigration, too (although I read that from outside the EU its reducing significantly).