Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) has described the White Paper on pensions as little more than a “con trick” for future generations, by offering them less than they get now, asking them to pay more and work longer before they can get it back. The proposals also do nothing for existing pensioners, and leave millions of older people, particularly women, on pensions that are much lower than the proposed £144 a week.
The NPC points out that:
- Existing pensioners will be excluded by the proposals, despite at least 5m, mainly women, getting less than £144 a week. They will be left to struggle on with a low state pension and a complicated means-tested Pension Credit which 1.8m older people still don’t claim, despite being eligible
- The current rules allow men and women to pay 30 years’ worth of National Insurance contributions in order to get a full basic and second state pension of around £150 a week. The White Paper calls for them to pay for 35 years and get £144 a week.
- There is considerably evidence to show that life expectancy is closely associated with income, profession and geography. Any suggestion that the state pension age should rise automatically in line with life expectancy will therefore disadvantage the poorest in society; in low paid, manual jobs and those living in deprived areas
Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary said: “The White Paper offers nothing to existing pensioners and leaves many of them to struggle on lower pensions and a complicated means-testing system. The worst affected will be around 5m older women who don’t have a pension anywhere near £144 a week and would clearly benefit if they were included in the new arrangements, but look like they are going to miss out. This will only add insult to injury to millions who have already made a contribution to our society but are still living in poverty.”
“The outlook for future generations of pensioners is even worse. They are being asked to pay an extra five years’ worth of National Insurance contributions, work longer before they can retire and end up with less than they can get today. At the moment you only need to contribute for 30 years in order to get a full state pension – and if you do, you can get £150 a week when you retire at 65. What the government is trying to sell is a plan for people to pay in for 35 years, get £144 a week and have to wait at least until 68 before they can collect it. No-one should be taken in by what is little more than a con trick.”