Many of UK’s elderly endure ‘severe poverty’...Time to raise pension age to 75, says Tory think tank
The Poverty level among people aged 65 or older in the UK is five times what it was in 1986, according to a paper written by Oxford University Professor Bernhard Ebbinghaus.
In his report, called Pension Reforms and Old Age Inequalities in Europe, Ebbinghaus found that five percent of the elderly now live in poverty in the UK, compared to less than the one percent estimated in the 1980s.
The academic blamed the startling increase on Britain’s “ungenerous basic pensions,” pointing to the Dutch and Nordic welfare systems as models he thinks should be emulated. His study found that countries like Britain which privatize pensions suffer from greater inequality.
One would think that such data would hardly be a secret for would-be social policy makers. Yet the solutions offered by some have raised a few eyebrows. The report made headlines at the same time as a policy paper –penned by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ)– calling for the state pension age, currently 65, to be increased all the way up to 75 over the next 16 years.
The group, co-founded by former Conservative leader and work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan-Smith, claimed that the UK was “not responding to the needs and potential” of an aging workforce, with hundreds of thousands of people aged 50 to 64 deemed “economically inactive.”
The paper asserted that the elderly should be encouraged to “access the benefits of work” by providing them with training opportunities – and of course, a new and improved retirement age.
It wasn’t long until social media reacted with confusion and outrage.
Many pointed out that in vast areas of Britain, including parts of England, most of Scotland, Northern Ireland, as well as in many London boroughs, the average life expectancy for males is actually lower than the proposed pension eligibility age of 75.
This morning’s front page suggests the Tories are planning to raise the retirement age to 75. For many parts of northern England, Scotland & N. Ireland this means that an increasing number of men, in particular, won’t survive to collect their pension. pic.twitter.com/eOLlKRnJjW— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) August 18, 2019
The Tory plot to raise the pension age to 75 means that a lot of people will never even see their pensions - which they will have paid for - because they will be dead.— Liam Young (@liamyoung) August 18, 2019
Some people who have already reached the current retirement age of 65 pointed out they’ve been having a hard time finding a job at this age even before 70. Others pointed to illnesses and disabilities that could slash one’s productive age to way below that.
Yup I'm chronically ill and disabled, I'll work as long as a can but at some point I will have to stop, I literally struggle to stand up as it is these days. I've no chance at 40 of reaching pension age unaided.— David Neil Robinson (@DDIGITALMEDIA) August 18, 2019
Others still tried to find irony in the news, although the jokes often turned quite sad.
Of course, there were also those questioning who benefited from the publishing of such a divisive paper… with some going as far as “smelling” a Tory conspiracy.
Like this story? Share it with a friend!