Don’t want charity

Today’s workers pay their weekly employment stamps and, if they wonder why they pay this, may suppose that this will provide them with a decent State Pension and nursing care when they retire – just like today’s pensioners did when they worked.

Even workers today earning �300 per week pay �23.76 and their employer’s pay �22.63, a total of �46.39 every week, and that is on one of the lower wages. Anyone earning more pays proportionately higher amounts

The poverty figure today is about �180 per week, so anyone with an income of less than this is deemed to be living in poverty.

We all know that the State Pension per week, even for someone with a full Employment Stamp record, is about �100 per week. This is increased to around �132 per week with Pension Credits, but not every pensioner today gets the full pension or Pension Credits -and this is well short of the �180 figure.

Past Governments and today’s Coalition Government have refused to increase the State Pension to anything near the poverty level and, instead, expect us to be grateful for their charity; ie bus passes, winter fuel allowances, free prescriptions etc.

The bus passes are being threatened, the winter fuel allowances have been reduced and do you remember the free swimming for older people? Well, that didn’t last long, did it?

So some younger people are annoyed that we pensioners get “free” bus passes. Well, we are not happy about it either. If we were paid our rightful State Pension by one of the richest countries in the world, we would not need this charity.

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I would ask anyone who objects to our freebies to carefully consider what benefits may be available when they reach the retirement age (whenever that is) and support us in our fight for a decent State Pension today - it could be in their interests tomorrow.

Tom Williams

Devon Pensioners’ Action Forum.

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