Tuesday, 18 September 2012
SIR ALAN SUGAR AND THE MISSING BUS PASS The case for universal pensioner benefits
The National Pensioners Convention say the current debate surrounding the provision of universal age-related benefits needs a bit more honesty, and I agree.
Taking the bus pass away from the likes of Sir Alan Sugar; given that he probably doesn’t use one anyway, will do nothing to save money. Instead this smokescreen is being used by ideologically driven Tories to press for the introduction of widespread means-testing. The NPC says this would withdraw support from anyone with an annual income of little more than £7500.
It represents part of a wider attack by this rotten Tory-Lib Dem Government on the welfare state and would ultimately hurt some of our most vulnerable older people.
The revenue collected by the state from older people, either directly through a range of taxes or through costs that older people bear that would otherwise be paid by the state, adds up to a staggering £175.8bn every year. This compares to total expenditure on older people through pensions, welfare payments and health care of £136.2bn. The overall, annual net contribution by older people to the economy is therefore almost £40bn. The NPC say this is estimated to rise to almost £75bn by 2030. Most importantly, this is more than enough to pay for the £8bn worth of age-related benefits that are now being questioned.
The NPC argue that that many of these universal benefits have been introduced over time because successive governments were reluctant to improve the state pension system. The NPC say having one of the least adequate pensions in Europe has almost forced governments to provide additional support to its older population, or witness the inevitable rise in pensioner hardship.
There is also very little substance to the claim that older people have escaped the austerity measures at the expense of younger generations; when the real division in society is between rich and poor. But then the Tories are past masters at using divide and rule tactics.
The NPC’s report can viewed online at http://npcuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Sir-Alan-Sugar-and-the-missing-bus-pass.pdf