Sunday, May 24, 2009

I hope I die before I get old

Let's play "Let's Pretend" for a moment.

Let's pretend you've retired. You get a state pension of about £95 a week at present, I believe, and on a regular basis this is increased. That's not a lot, but you've probably paid off your house and live frugally. You feel the cold in winter, but the government gives you extra fuel payments from time to time. You're getting frail, but the National Health Service is there to help you out. And so you may not live well, but you are able to survive in not too much discomfort.

This all works well unless you are a British citizen who has retired outside the EU and USA. In that case, things suddenly look a lot worse.

  • Your pension is never increased. If you retired a few years ago on £50 a week, that's it for the rest of your life. Tough luck about inflation.
  • You don't get any winter fuel payments. At this point, dear reader, you're probably thinking "You don't need winter fuel payments if you live in Australia or South Africa." You'd be wrong. In many of these sunny climes, night time temperatures drop to freezing in winter and since double glazing is rare, when it's freezing outside, it's pretty close to freezing inside. And if you've retired to Canada, it gets pretty chilly there too.
  • There's no National Health Service to fall back on. So just as your health gets frail, you face steeply increasing costs.

For years the Government has refused to do anything about this.

Let's look simply at the matter of pensions. There are about 500,000 British pensioners affected by having a fixed pension under this policy. The Government claims that it would be unaffordable to keep increasing their pensions in line with pensions for those living in the UK.

Really? Just how much would it cost? I've seen estimates of less than 1% increase in the budget for the Department of Work and Pensions. How is that unaffordable?

The way we treat the most vulnerable in our society is a measure of our civilisation.

We are treating half a million British pensioners callously.

We should be ashamed.

1 comment:

ALan Haffey said...

It's an absolute outrage. This is not "civilisation", it's pig headed pompousness. It would be very interesting to know what the situation is for the Scandanavian citizens who have retired outside of the EU/USA. Can you find out?