Monday, 22 April 2013

We'll all be pensioners...

One day, with any luck, we will all become pensioners.

Some people talk about pensioners as if they are another species, or gender, or race.

Today we read the Fabian Society suggesting curbs on pensioner incomes.

They amble around the familiar ground of curbing Winter Fuel Payment, free bus travel and TV licences.

They suggest state pension increases should be less generous.

More importantly, they pull out of the undergrowth that old, rotting chestnut of charging pensioners National Insurance.*

All this in the cause of "inter-generational" fairness.

But the softer tax regime for people who have reached pension age is something we shall all enjoy, at a time when we are at risk of becoming less able and have a diminished ability to earn more money.

There is no us and them about being a pensioner.

One argument deployed to justify chipping away at pensioners' incomes is that typically they have been going up, while everyone else's income has been suffering.

That rather ignores the fact that our pensioners (that's all of us, at some point!) have lower incomes than those in many other industrialised countries - the US, Japan, Germany, Austria, Canada and more.

They also survive on less, compared to the working population, than those in the vast majority of OECD countries.

And, while we are on the subject, they depend heavily on private pensions to supplement our state pension, which has been comparatively low.

Because of the UK's pensions crisis -- employers slashing pensions, people saving less -- private pensions could be much less of a prop in future.

Hence, the government's desperate efforts to get all employees to salt away more through auto-enrolment in workplace pension schemes.

I think when we all become pensioners, we shall need all the help we can get!

*Pensioners pay income tax but do not pay 12% National Insurance on either their pension income or earnings from work.

No comments:

Post a Comment