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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 April 2020

Tory think tank proposes attack on pensions

  (Click to enlarge)

Roger Bannister, Liverpool Socialist Party

It was inevitable that the Tory government would try to offload the costs of dealing with the coronavirus crisis from their rich backers and onto the backs of working people.

Now, a report by the Tory-backed Social Market Foundation (SMF), has recommended that the first attack should be on the country's pensioners, by abolishing the 'triple lock' mechanism for increasing the state pension, and replacing it with a 'double lock'.

The triple lock has been in existence since 2011, and provides that the state pension should rise by the greatest of price inflation, average earnings or 2.5% each year.

At the time of its introduction, it was seen as a mechanism to gradually raise the value of the state pension, but it has long been an aim of the Tories to get rid of it. However, whenever they have proposed it, public protest has forced them to back off. The proposed double lock would remove the 2.5% element from the mechanism.

The state pension is not high - currently set at 175.20 a week for people reaching pension age on or after 6 April 2016, and only 134.25 a week for everybody else, (currently the majority of pensioners).

Of the 36 countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the UK has the lowest pension as calculated proportionately against what they call the working wage for each country.

Following the attacks on final salary pension schemes, encouraged by the Tories, in the private sector, it is clear that Britain is now sitting on a time-bomb of pensioner poverty.

Growing numbers of workers are retiring with inadequate pensions, leaving them struggling to make ends meet.

The SMF proposal should therefore be rejected. The National

Pensioners Convention, the main organisation representing pensioners in Britain, has long campaigned to retain the triple lock.

Now, the trade union leaders need to speak out against this proposal and prepare their members to take action should the Tories press ahead with this it.

The Labour Party has previously guaranteed to maintain pensions up to 2025, but that ignores the need to significantly increase the state pension.

Keir Starmer's newly appointed Shadow Secretary for Work and Pensions, Johnathan Reynolds, has blandly stated that the UK needs "serious long-term thinking" about pensions, which could mean anything!

Labour has to be clear about whether it supports pensioners, or simply sees them, like the Tories, as a potential area of cost cutting.

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The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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In The Socialist 22 April 2020:


Frontline workers speak out

Where's our PPE? Where's our testing? Where's our money?

London bus drivers' action over safety stops front door boarding

Care homes coronavirus scandal: blood on their hands

PPE shortages: "I feel so bloody angry"

Trade union activists from across the south of England discuss the battle for safety on the frontline

Management tells carers PPE would 'worry' residents

Councils must demand control of supplies and reversal of austerity

More dispatches from the front: 'There are so many more patients dying'


World economy

World economic crisis: A Marxist approach to the coronavirus crunch


Workplace news

No 'back to school' until outbreak is under control and trade union agreed safety arrangements

DWP: Action on workers' safety, and protection of pay and conditions needed

JD Sports: Shut up shop and give us full pay!

RMT: Lift the suspension of Steve Hedley

Bromley Libraries 'restructure' in middle of pandemic!


Lenin at 150

Lenin at 150: A revolutionary life - and the relevance of his ideas to today's working-class struggles


Coronavirus news

National plan for testing needed

Capitalist press attacks Tory incompetence

Tory think tank proposes attack on pensions

Shocking increase in domestic violence killings

US private healthcare system in meltdown

Coronavirus news in brief


Workplace safety

The history of struggle to make the workplace safe


Campaigns

Excellent support for Socialist Party special appeal

Why I joined the Socialist Party

Clapping, driving, postering - for workers' rights

The role of the Socialist during the corona crisis

Policies that really protect the NHS

Coronavirus: Students' charter

Socialism the Podcast: What do our listeners think?


Readers' opinion

Covid-19 patient speaks out: fantastic support from under-resourced health workers

Going viral: Socialist comments and letters


 

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