It would seem that British people are becoming ever more like new fangled appliances. They’re being used day in day out for a specific task until they’re of no use anymore, or a new model comes along, or heaven forbid they break altogether. It certainly feels that way when reading the latest article that claims one in three retirees will receive a state pension of no more than £133.56 a week, which will come as a shock to those that expected the usual £150.
This follows millions of workers who “contracted out” and used a national insurance contributions rebate to build up a private pension pot. From a student perspective rent alone can cost anything from £75 to £125 a week. Add to that your monthly water, electric and gas bills, phone and broadband costs, weekly food shop (even on a budget at Aldi), transport costs and money for clothing and toiletries.
You would feel the strain even with your collection of free sugar sachets and napkins. And yes come retirement age it would be unlikely for someone to still be paying rent or paying off their mortgage, but general upkeep of a home can still be costly. It is also not always the case that people will have accumulated savings or procured a private pension fund to assist with their golden years.
For many, the state pension is all that they will have to live off and why shouldn’t this be the case when we spend the entirety of our working lives paying into it. The retired should feel secure and safe in their old age, they shouldn’t have to feel the need to scrimp and save like in their younger years. I am aware of the factors that have brought about this change; the workers that contracted out, combined with the pension overhauls brought about by the stress that a longer living society has placed on the pension funds.
Perhaps the reforms have not been enacted to streamline and simplify the dreaded pensions crisis but are instead David Cameron’s solution to reducing an ageing population. Work the people for longer hours, with a laughable minimum wage, whilst at the same time moving the goalposts of retirement further back until finally, after years of hard work and stress they are rewarded with a squeezed sum of £133.56 a week. The shock may be all too much for some people who will inevitably end up in hospital; throw in rising pressure on NHS A&E departments and they find themselves being told that their elective operation has been cancelled. At least they’ll be able to spend any private pension funds they’re saved to pay for private surgery in a private hospital, because after all, it works so well for the American public.