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Sunday, 16 October 2011

Too Kind: U.K. Government Gives Me Six Months More Pay!

[Article first published as ‘Too Kind: U.K. Government Gives Me Six Months More Pay! on Technorati]

Ros.Altmann.02‘Sickened’, ‘devastated’ and ‘outraged’. But I could use yet stronger language  to describe the present coalition government’s proposed hike in British women’s state pension age by six years between 2010 and 2020.

As one of those worst affected I was further incensed by the news on Friday that we are being given a six month reprieve. So now it’s only five-and-a-half years and a loss of a mere £11,000.00. Whoopie!

Rachel Reeves, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury,  estimated:

“330,000 women are still going to have to wait 18 months before they get their state pension, and 500,000 women are going to have to wait for more than a year. This could cost people up to about £11,000.”

If I’m any judge or example,  women like me are neither impressed by nor grateful for the amendment to the Pensions Bill as the overall policy still means many of us  having to re-juggle carefully calculated finances. As one lobbyist remarked: It is a move in the right direction but does not go far enough.

Like all fair people, I accept the need for pension age parity. But as usual, the proposed change has been handled with  thoughtless lack of care without regard to the individuals involved. 

Economist Dr Ros Altmann, director-general of Saga the organisation for the over-50s  was among those who lobbied hard for a re-think on the changes. Her colleague, head of communications Paul Green echoes my view when he says:

"The equalisation of the state pension age is the right thing to do, as is giving people the time to prepare and plan for retirement …

“The six month delay goes someway to put right this wrong and is a victory for fairness and common sense, our only regret is that this issue was not recognised and taken seriously sooner."

The coalition government continues to face protests about money – some of them violent - from huge numbers of people representing almost the entire spectrum of adult society. I appreciate that some of the worst episodes have been maliciously motivated. But if the present administration continues to alienate so many ordinary people while appearing to serve the interests of a few I can’t see it surviving the next election.


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