If we all in this together what cuts have oaps faced?

(273 Posts)
3asAbird Thu 03-Oct-13 12:51:43

As my title says im struggling to see any.

Winter fuel allowance -stays universil-too expensive to means tesrt
same with free bus passes.

part of their social care is paid so they can leave wealth to their families

They excempt from bedroom subsidy so they allowed to under occupy and biggest group.

Pensions I think went up

This new married couples allowance maybe another additional benefit to them if they large proportion of this group.

Housing-they brought at right time probably paid off mortgage and have lots equity.

They moan about interest rates but they fortunate enough to be able to save.

If social-how many homeless pensioners are there? Are they always band a?

Maybe im being harsh and some pensioners have it hard.

But locally they have several holidays a year, holiday homes, brand new cars.

wondering how exactly we all in this together ad should there be mass turnouts under 60 to vote at next general election.

Beastofburden Thu 03-Oct-13 12:59:19

Living on the state pension isn't easy.
They are affected by fuel rises more than most as they are home all day.
They are not usually still saving- they are trying to live off what they saved while they were still working.
Married couples allowance won't do them a lot of good if they are on basic state pension because they don't get enough to pay much tax in the first place.

Rich pensioners aren't in this with the rest of us, but then nor are other rich people. I bet not all the local pensioners have several holidays, cars etc- just the rich ones. Same with loads of equity.

YAB a bit U I think.

emuloc Thu 03-Oct-13 12:59:48

What cuts have those in Goverment faced or ever likely too!

rainsofcastersugar Thu 03-Oct-13 13:00:44

They won't cut much funding that affects pensioners. They are the ones who usually go out and vote.

emuloc Thu 03-Oct-13 13:01:00

In short YABU.

GrendelsMum Thu 03-Oct-13 13:01:37

I wonder whether pensioners may have been hit very hard by interest rates, as you suggested.

The low interest rates and high inflation - which are terrific for people with debts and mortgages - mean that people with savings are effectively losing money each year (each year, their money is worth less and less).

I understand that annuity rates have also dropped very substantially over the last few years, so that people now retiring are getting a much lower income from their pension pot than they would have a few years back.

It's a cliche that we all see people's expenditure and never what they go without, but this applies as much to pensioners as to benefit recipients and their goats.

IamSlave Thu 03-Oct-13 13:02:07

Id rather turn attention off the elderly, the struggling the benefits recipients and turn it back the greed of the city and bankers.

Beastofburden Thu 03-Oct-13 13:03:38

They won't cut much funding that affects pensioners. They are the ones who usually go out and vote.

yes, but they have kids and grandchildfren and so there is not a lot of point bribing them and hoping they dont notice that the rest of their family is shafted.

CissyMeldrum Thu 03-Oct-13 13:04:19

Many pensioners are living in poverty now ,winter is on its way and many will have to make the choice between food or heat, it is awful for everyone but in my view no one is more entitled to help than any other...if you need help you should get it.

3asAbird Thu 03-Oct-13 13:05:23

I just cant think of any direct cuts to them as a group.

Every ones affected by increase in living

rising inflation.

Maybe I live in particularly affluent area that skews my views

A lot of pensioners I know had ordinary jobs but benefoited from good workplace pensions so many have state work/private.

I know there are rich and poor pensioners,

just they vote more.

if we all in thos together surly cuts should be for everyone not just one age group or families.

GrendelsMum Thu 03-Oct-13 13:06:39

No, I suspect that the low interest rates are effectively a direct cut to pensioners.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

3asAbird Thu 03-Oct-13 13:11:41

yes but its not the government that sets interest rates its bank of England.

What i trying to ask is what cuts have the government made that directly affects pensions as I cant think of any.

Please note I don't hate OAP,S have may friends and family who are in that age bracket.

Not a week goes by in daily mail or express or budget day with how it will affect the poor pensioner.

But in light of the speech yesterday where they singling out specific age group 16-25 is it not worth asking the question.

Forgetfulmog Thu 03-Oct-13 13:13:31

Annuity rates have dropped drastically - both due to the global economy & the EU equal gender directive which came into force last December.

Elderly people can & still do die because they can't afford to keep warm enough in the winter.

Under Cam's gov, the rich are getting richer & the poor poorer.


Bogeyface Thu 03-Oct-13 13:15:24

I was talking to my mum about this just this morning and she agrees that WFA should be means tested, even though it would mean she lost it.

She and I have no issue with anyone who needs benefits having them, but she said herself that there is a huge population of pensioners who did well on property, worked and saved during the time when you could do that on one wage alone and still support a family and are now on nice private pensions. She is disgusted that the poor are made poorer at the expense of upsetting the Tory voting pensioner massive.

She helps co ordinate food donations through her church to the local food bank and said to me that the number of pensioners they get asking for food you could count on the fingers of one head. It is mainly young families and single people. But they dont vote Tory so fuck 'em hmm sad

3asAbird Thu 03-Oct-13 13:16:06

Yes its very sad that some people cant afford to heat.

Just think we should be holding dave to task.

If I were ed.

I would be saying if we all in this together what cuts has this group faced?

what happened to the big society?

whos hardworking, whos not?

not sure he give answer on any of the above.

LuisSuarezTeeth Thu 03-Oct-13 13:17:32

Much the same could be said of any group. You sound as if you don't like pensioners very much OP.

Bogeyface Thu 03-Oct-13 13:18:01

Under Cam's gov, the rich are getting richer & the poor poorer.

But that is the point that makes the OP NU imo. If say WFA was means tested then it could be increased for those that really do need it, at the expense of those who spend it on holidays (yes, I do know people who do that, my mum is one of them).

There is always an excuse why this would be unworkable, I dont see why they wont be honest and say "Ah well, we dont want to piss off the only sector of society that we can rely upon to vote for us".

Beastofburden Thu 03-Oct-13 13:18:05

I see what you mean, bird . A lot of the cuts are directed at benefits for those of working age, and I think the benefits cap only applies to people of working age. I am not sure how many OAPs get more than the benefits cap in the first place, though.

But the cuts are supposedly designed to reduce the national spending. How much does the government spend on OAPs anyway? apart from the state pension, not a huge amount I think. Housing benefit- they get the same cuts. Disability living allowance- ditto. carers allowance- ditto.

Very rich pensioners will have to pay the higher income tax just like very rich bankers and so forth.

I think perhaps you see the rich pensioners where you live and you are coparing them with poorer younger people. The poorer pensioners are probably less visible but probably even worse off- no chance of training or earning later on, worse health, higher chance of disability...

OldLadyKnowsNothing Thu 03-Oct-13 13:18:15

If you're complaining that OAPs are somehow protected "because they vote" there's a pretty simple answer for the young 'uns. And it's free, and available every few years to everyone aged over 18.

CandidaDoyle Thu 03-Oct-13 13:19:09

Meals on wheels have been scrapped in many areas. I have two elderly grandparents who both live alone and would have benefited from a short daily visit bringing a hot meal. So yabu.

LittleMissWise Thu 03-Oct-13 13:21:32

A lot of pensioners are still on the old married persons tax allowance scheme aren't they?

A lot of sick and disabled people are at home all day and get no help to heat their houses.

I'm getting a bit sick of the fact that the pensioners are being left out of the cuts. Not all of them are skint, not all of them worked hard all their lives. YANBU OP, I'm with you on this one!

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Thu 03-Oct-13 13:21:36

We are absolutely not all in this together - the cuts are disproportionately affecting the poorest and most disadvantaged in society, whatever their age.

I hate what this government has done.

Beastofburden Thu 03-Oct-13 13:22:04

There is an issue with universal benefits like fuel allowance. I felt the same way about Child benefit- I supported taking it away from higher rate tax payers (which included me). I am a bit hmm at the argument that they can manage to cap child benefit for higher earners but not winter fuel allowance.

But on the "who works hardest" thing the OP quotes, that's not relevant to people who are no longer of working age, and wouldbe very harsh on a number of people 16-25 that she is concerned to protect- so that looks like a red herring to me.

juneau Thu 03-Oct-13 13:22:20

Well, I think the main one is that anyone who is retired has to cope on what money they have - whether it's a state pension or a private pension - so the increases in cost of living can have a big impact. Younger people are also affected, of course, but they can get a second job or try to negotiate a pay rise or something to bring in a bit more money.

The pensioners in my family are always moaning about interest rates, but since they all have at least three foreign holidays a year and live in houses much bigger than they need to I'm afraid I nod and smile and have very little sympathy. My Aunt, the worst offender for moaning about interest rates, lives alone in a four bedroom house and is off on safari next month hmm

Forgetfulmog Thu 03-Oct-13 13:23:24

Oldlady - the majority of the Welfare budget is spent on pensions. I forget the actual percentage, but it's high.

WFA should be means tested, but then they did that for Child Benefit and what a massive fuck up that was confused

sillyname Thu 03-Oct-13 13:23:34

Considering that a pensioner receiving full state pension and credit gets double what a job seeker or carer gets, is exempt from the bedroom tax and council tax contribution, may also recieve attendance allowance and has had no cuts whatsoever, I think they are doing fine.

Plus soon, the unemployed on workfare will be cooking their meals and other community jobs.

We are not in it all together.

Forgetfulmog Thu 03-Oct-13 13:24:03

Whoops my post was directed at beast, not oldlady, sorry!shock

Beastofburden Thu 03-Oct-13 13:25:20

Thanks, forgetful!

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 03-Oct-13 13:26:28

YABU.. Pensioners have no opportunity to go out and earn more money and they are often heavily reliant on healthcare or other public services. If they were reliant on an income from their savings the interest rates are well below inflation. If they had investments, they'll have lost a big chunk of the value in the 2008 crash. If they've got good lifestyles today they're probably financially supporting DCs and DGCs behind the scenes.

sillyname Thu 03-Oct-13 13:30:04

how welfare benefits are broken down

Pensions cost 74 billion a year, jobseekers 4.9 billion. Crazy

HavantGuard Thu 03-Oct-13 13:31:04

OAPs vote and a lot of them vote Conservative.

Nanny0gg Thu 03-Oct-13 13:31:17

How about all the money that was invested (from salary) to fund pensions that has been 'stolen' by government so that pension pots are nowhere near what had been expected/planned for?

How about the fact that I should have retired at 60, then it was changed to 63 - fair enough, I had time to plan for that. Then it moved to 66 and I have no time to plan for that.

And many of us are supporting children and elderly parents.

I don't think pensioners are that well cared for by any government.

becsbornunderadancingstar Thu 03-Oct-13 13:32:57

I'm going to stick my neck out and express a minority view that will probably get me a big shouting at... But I don't really understand why pensioners can't go out and earn money unless they're infirm - which is the same as a young person being unable to earn money due to ill health surely? So that should be covered by the same ill health provision that young people have. Why do people HAVE to retire if they're not ill?

galletti Thu 03-Oct-13 13:33:56

Housing-they brought at right time probably paid off mortgage and have lots equity - Yes, the majority of which they will see going in escalating care home fees if they need to go into one.

bigkidsdidit Thu 03-Oct-13 13:35:50

I read in the economist recently that pensioners used to be the poorest group in society, so lots of benefits were rightly given to them. They are now the richest group, the poorest being families with young children, but benefits are still being given to them.

Pensioners mostly vote conservative, the average age of a Tory party member is 70...

I have no doubt that whichever party wins this election, Ben the Tories, will bring in cuts to pensioner benefits next parliament.

KittieCat Thu 03-Oct-13 13:37:50

Firstly, we are not 'all in this together far from it.

Secondly, YABVU. I want older people to be looked after in my society. Pensioners may be willing to work but employers aren't alway keen to take them on. Also, if pensioners keep working for lots longer then surely that'd mean less job openings for younger people. There is not an endless supply of jobs in the UK...

Thymeout Thu 03-Oct-13 13:38:12

There was the 'Granny Tax' - can't remember the details. It lowered the tax threshold to bring it in line with rest of population.

Don't underestimate the effect of low interest rates. Many pensioners rely on interest to top up pensions. How much is your mortgage interest? Pensioners lived through times when it was 15%. Not much left for savings then. They didn't spend nearly as much on nights out, holidays, children's parties etc. A much less extravagant lifestyle.

Being old is expensive. Your employer pays your heating costs during the day. My energy dd has just gone up 50%. An extra £360 p.a. They have to pay people to do what they used to do themselves - decorating, gardening, etc. Opticians and dentists - the elderly need them more. Only the eye test is free. 'Part of social care is paid' - only if they have less than £23,000 in savings. I bet they'd pay not to NEED social care, some random having to come in to sort out the commode, make them a cup of tea, get them up in the mornings. Most LA's only do it for extreme cases.

You're talking about a huge demographic. But the one thing they all have in common is extra expense, just because they're older. And they can't go out and get more work to make ends meet.

LittleMissWise Thu 03-Oct-13 13:38:37

becs my parents still work, they are 68&70. They run their own business, so yes I do agree with you. MIL does voluntary work, I am sure if she was poor she would be able to get a job.

Beastofburden Thu 03-Oct-13 13:48:00

becs lots of them do. B&Q is good for employing older people. I think though that they find it hard to get jobs as employers prefer younger people, for all kinds of reasons.

Overall, people have more years of healthy life than they used to, followed by quite a lot of years of impaired life. Those later years used not to exist because people were carried off in their first winter by pneumonia, but now they stay alive and in poor health for a lot longer.

So really we ought to think of the two groups separately.

Healthy, well-off baby-boomers with equity, pension funds and savings- roughly equivalent to the squeezed middle classes. They may feel poorer, but in the big scheme of things, they are not badly off. No justification IMHO for them getting universal benefits.

Health-impaired, older OAPs on small fixed incomes, not well enough to work, no Plan B, lots of expenses- I don't see the evidence that they are unduly protected from cuts.

State pension- is it a benefit or a savings plan? I would say it is a savings plan and people who have after all done more than their fair share in their time ought to be allowed to retire and claim it.

MrsOakenshield Thu 03-Oct-13 13:49:46

pensioners are the biggest recipients of welfare, immigrants the smallest I believe, but that's not what the government or certain newspapers want you to believe. The Tories will never piss them off because they form a huge percentage of their support.

I agree with you. WFA is an absolute life savers amongst the poorest pensioners, but certainly none of the pensioners I know need it, nor free bus passes or TV licenses. They don't seem to care that young people and families today will not benefit from things that they did - universal child benefit (don't think either my parents not PILs needed it, what with all their children in private school!), cheaper housing, more jobs, better pensions, early retirement. My mum, thank God, does think it's outrageous that she gets, for example, WFA. The rest just say 'I paid taxes, I'm due this'. My MiL, who is generally lovely, was chuffed to bits that the Tories got into power 'because they'll look after the old people'. Wow, thanks for that generous viewpoint!

becsbornunderadancingstar Thu 03-Oct-13 13:50:42

LittleMissWise - my parents are both still working too! Aged 78 and 77. My mum's in hospital atm, and she's taking next week off work to recover then going back. "What else am I going to do, watch fucking 'Bargain Hunt'?" she says. God but my Mum is ace. My DGrandad worked to 92 when he needed to retire to care for my DGrandma. She worked to 85. My grandparents on the other side retired at 60. Watched daytime tv for thirty years. Complained about immigration and the cost of living as their world got smaller and smaller. Urgh. I cannot imagine a worse fate. Strap me to this desk, I'll be here til my heart packs in!

kittiecat quote: surely that'd mean less job openings for younger people. There is not an endless supply of jobs in the UK... Noooo! This is the classic anti-immigration argument and it just doesn't hold water! There isn't a finite supply of jobs that 'them pensioners' or 'them foreigners' can take off us. There is an economy which can shrink or grow. When more people work, they spend more money, sell more goods abroad and the economy grows, creating MORE JOBS. When people stop spending, stop working, stop allowing people to come here to work the economy shrinks, and there are LESS JOBS. (This is totally open to debate obviously)

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 03-Oct-13 13:51:30

YABU... why do you want more people to suffer? Retired people are often on fixed incomes, their savings don't generate much at the moment and they don't have the same opportunities as younger people to go out and earn more money. They are more reliant on healthcare and social services than younger people. The ones I know that made good provision for their old age are helping out younger members of the family financially.

PresidentServalan Thu 03-Oct-13 13:52:44

YABU. Most of them have worked all their lives and brought up families with no tax credits or State assistance.

adagio Thu 03-Oct-13 13:54:11

YABU, because you are directing your anger at one section of society. YANBU to intimate that benefits at the moment are a complete mess, with people in need suffering big time and on the other side of the fence people who are quite comfortable anyway, getting a more help than they strictly need.

The problem is how to fix it.

I don't think I agree with a society where no one earns a wage, and instead everyone is handed exactly the same amount each week/month to live off regardless of the efforts they have made either in the past or right now. That's not fair. But, it is unacceptable that in this day and age there are people having to choose between food or heating, whatever age they are.

Any means tested benefits create cottage industries which often cost more to administer than they save. So, a double edged sword.

Our tax system in the UK is among the most complex in the world, with more (often unintended) loopholes than you can shake a stick at. I would imagine a simple flat rate tax on everything earned and everything purchased would be fairer and save an absolute fortune in administration - but that would put an awful lot of HMRC employees/accountants/tax advisors etc out of work which would be a Bad Thing, and probably annoy the Very Rich who currently exploit the loopholes (and donate to politics?).

I am not sure it is all Conservatives fault, to me, it seems all the parties are broadly the same and spout whatever they think will get them votes (without necessarily delivering). Labour were particularly short sighted in building up debt during the boom years.

And if you think that Bank of England sets the interest without any government influence I think you are being slightly naive. They are keeping it low to try and encourage anyone who has any money in their pocket to spend it not save it in an effort to boost the economy and keep the money flowing. It's not working so well, from what I have read. (anyone with money is paying down mortgages or saving as they are scared it will all get much worse and they need a bit aside to cover the soaring energy and food prices). Low interest batters pensioners disproportionately as they are purely living off 'savings' in the form of a pension pot.

I do agree that ring fencing under occupancy charges to avoid pensioners seems particularly unfair, given the shortage of suitable, affordable, housing and that pensioners are most likely to still be in a 'family sized' home long after the family has flown.

Beastofburden Thu 03-Oct-13 13:57:37

becs up to a point Lord Copper on the jobs.

let us suppose that our economy has created one job. Two people want it. One is an OAP and one isn't.

The economy will grow the exact same amount whoever gets the job.
Would we rather have the young person working or the OAP working? Currently national policy says, the young person, because (a) the OAP will get their state pension regardless on top of their salary, whereas the young person will be coming off benefits and (b) it builds their skills for a longer working life than the OAP can expect, and it has a bigger influence on child poverty and other social policies.

Not saying the elderly shouldn't work. My mother is 76 and works in a charity shop for no money, but she doesn't have to heat her house all day and she gets to buy things from the shop so she spends very little on stuff- which on the basic state pension, is just as well. My MIL worked for about five years in her entire life and was well retired by her 50s.

Talkinpeace Thu 03-Oct-13 13:58:35

My mother spends her WFA in Harvey Nicks
She gets pensioner and single person discount on both her band H houses
her savings income has dropped lots, but she's still well in the 40% tax band
her free bus pass is useful for when she does not want to take the Jag to Covent Garden

BillyBanter Thu 03-Oct-13 13:58:54

Why not ask 'If we're all in it together what cuts have the vastly wealthy faced?'

Why is your complaint that pensioners had good pensions schemes? Why isn't your complaint that we don't have good pension schemes?

Why not ask why the government have made all these cuts? Were they really necessary? Why not ask why your taxes are paying Tesco's staff bill?

Beastofburden Thu 03-Oct-13 14:00:03

talk Nigella Lawson is pretty well-off too, but I don't think that all single mothers are in the same boat grin

ps your mum sounds rich. Would she like to marry one of my nice boys and leave them all her money?

Beastofburden Thu 03-Oct-13 14:00:35

mind you, talk that is an excellent example of why I agree that universal benefits are crap.

becsbornunderadancingstar Thu 03-Oct-13 14:04:36

'up to a point Lord Copper' grin (huge Waugh fan)

But if the OAP is going to be better at that job - sell 10 times the amount of widgets than the young'un for example - and that's why he's been hired, then he's not going to grow the economy by the exact same amount. And my Dad started his current job at the age of 60 and has been there 18 years - how many youngsters stay in a job for 18 years? So the contribution to the employer is greater. But I do recognise that my view is a minority one, and many would disagree.

bigkidsdidit Thu 03-Oct-13 14:08:13

My dad spent his wfa on getting his new jag valeted.

vj32 Thu 03-Oct-13 14:09:11

I think all benefits should be means tested, including WFA and pensions.

Pensions were originally supposed to combat extreme poverty in old age. Somewhere along the way they became something that all old people were supposed to comfortably live from. People started to believe that you somehow paid into a pot of money that became your state pension, which was never the case. That idea is not sustainable. Unless you are too ill or infirm (in which case you should get a top up) you need to live from savings or work. And yes, given that I am only 30 now I fully expect to have to work until I am at least 70 unless I can save enough money to stop work sooner.

DuckToWater Thu 03-Oct-13 14:11:25

YANBU - baby boomers have on the whole had it easier in many ways than the generations that follow them, yet they are the ones who complain the most about everybody else in my experience and who are most likely to have right wing views and vote Conservative and UKIP.

I don't mind people of that generation who acknowledge their good fortune, but some of them think they have some kind of moral superiority which has led to them doing well in life.

It's not just that generation of course, entitled, selfish people can be any age.

georgettemagritte Thu 03-Oct-13 14:13:08

beast the state pension is not a savings plan, despite the erroneously-named National Insurance - and it never has been. It was designed to be paid out immediately as it goes in, eg NI contributions are not sitting in some kind of national fund somewhere, current NI contributions from those working are paid out again inmediately in the state pension. Because of the effect of inflation and real interest rates, pensioners as a group always take out in retirement more than they contributed in tax/NI. (If the entire state pension for 20-30 years on average per pensioner had to be paid for via their contributions, they would each need to save more than their entire net income for the entirety of their working lives!) The system relies on GDP rises, inflation, productivity and standard of living improvements and population growth to keep working.

This works fine when the birth rate rises steadily or remains at replacement so that number of pensioners is always a steady proportion of the number of workers. However at the present time we are about to see a large bulge of boomers retiring and the proportion if the working-age population is actually shrinking in comparison. Today's pensioners will take out far more than they ever put in, whilst also benefiting from property price rises which mean smaller younger generations will be paying in more and struggling with higher essential costs (particularly housing), to keep the older generations in entitlements they won't ever see themselves. The system doesn't work well in times when standards of living are dropping.

OECD statistics show that pensioners, closely followed by boomers, were the age groups to increase their wealth most (in asset and income terms) during the 1998-2008 boom. In contrast, the only group that saw a drop in income and wealth, compared to previous years and older cohorts, was the cohort who were in their twenties at any point during that decade.

As soon as young people realise this then generational politics will become very very nasty. When pensioners were the poorest group in society young people did not mind paying for them. When young people realise they are being shafted to preserve the entitlements of asset-wealthy baby boomers it will suddenly get very difficult to persuade working-age people that they should pay for health, social and state care for those in the older generation who are not wealthy.

Beastofburden Thu 03-Oct-13 14:14:37

becs- true, the OAP may be a far better employee. My point only works in the artificial situation where all other things are equal, because it was made in the context of whether OAPs needed jobs more than others, not whether they would do them better.

I just wish we had a clear and reliable way to target all benefits to people who were poorest, regardless of age. My MIL is very entitled and complains that she has no state pension in her own right because she never made enough NI contributions. This is somehow my FIL's fault. The fact that she is rolling anyhow on her widow's pension and her capital (all of which FIL earned of course) does not strike her at all. I would happily personally remove every benefit from her in a heartbeat. But I also know many OAPs who live in a very worrying financial situation.

ParsingFright Thu 03-Oct-13 14:15:30

Whereas I think that universal benefits are a great idea.

It's expensive to properly means-test and then police the means-testing of benefits - which is why Child Benefit has been done in such a cack-handed way.

But it costs no more to administer a tax rate at 26% than 25%, because the mechanism's there anyway.

So it makes considerable sense to have flat rate universal benefits wherever it's not completely ridiculous (so not for housing), and to pay for it out of our nice, progressive tax-system.

This also means there's less of a cliff-edge where benefits suddenly stop if you earn thrupence more.

becsbornunderadancingstar Thu 03-Oct-13 14:21:06

wish we had a clear and reliable way to target all benefits to people who were poorest, regardless of age. totally agree. Some young people are in poor health and shouldn't have to struggle to work. Some old people are in excellent health and could be working. Some people can switch on the heating without a second thought, spending their WFA on getting the "Jag valeted" (totally believe you bigkidsdidit and it's just ludicrous isn't it?). Some children live in cold damp homes.

I think the sense of entitlement is the biggest problem 'I've paid in, so now I'm getting something out'. So the preemie baby who hasn't paid a penny in NI doesn't get NHS care then? So a young person with cancer has to worry about getting back to work while still having treatment because they 'haven't paid in' yet? We pay NI so that the system is there for those who need it, not so we can draw it out later for ourselves. It's a tax, not a savings scheme.

Monty27 Thu 03-Oct-13 14:22:00

OP you seem to have a dislike for old people. Is that because they've had a long time to pay off their mortgages and have some savings which they hoped would keep them comfortable in their old age? Savings of which is no longer gaining much interest.


adagio Thu 03-Oct-13 14:22:41

Excellent post georgettemagritte

Wish there was a like button

Madratlady Thu 03-Oct-13 14:34:21

If they have managed to save and have a good pension from their job then that's good and they'll probably be ok, but those living on a state pension are going to struggle.

Also those moving into residential/ nursing homes - do you know how much they cost? That soon wipes out any inheritance for children and grandchildren.

It's the same as with other age groups to some extent - those that are well off do fine and those that aren't struggle.

Beastofburden Thu 03-Oct-13 14:40:02

georgette is right in that only state schemes such as the state pension and the civil service get to operate this pyramid scheme. Other pension schemes have to have funding to cover their predicted liabilities every time there's a valuation of the scheme, which if you have a guaranteed pension (defined benefit schemes) costs a bomb.

What I meant though is more the way people see the state pension. I am quite sure they don't see ithemselves as being "on benefits". Lol- what would Daily Fail readers do- their heads would explode grin

Do we think people would accept a move to make it fully means-tested, so if you had private provision, you wouldn't get it? NI would then be much more about insurance- I am insuring myself against not having a private pension- and not so much about being seen emotionally by people as "saving up".

At the moment it's the other way round. The move to the new higher state pension by nuking the state second pension has meant that people who were contracted out of state second pension will be getting it anyway, even though they haven't paid the higher NI towards it. And there was meant to be a way for employers to knock the difference off workplace pension schemes, but I think it got delayed or overturned, I forget which.

Cantsleep Thu 03-Oct-13 14:50:11

I have no issue with laps getting wfa bus pass etc.

What did annoy me last year was the cold weather payments, when I was on is the dcs got them as they get dla. Now that dh works (and we are slightly worse off due to this) we no longer qualify for it as you have to be on is and dla. We still have ill dcs and a house to heat.

Ds who lives at home with DM and doesn't even have a heating bill of her own to pay gets is and dla so got the payment for every week it was under a certain temp, she laughed, didn't tell our DM who pays the heating bill and went and spent the money on new clothes. I was livid. That's the sort of thing that pisses me off not an oap with a bus pass etc.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Thu 03-Oct-13 14:50:21

Massive massive cuts made by LAs to day care provision for older people, social groups, meals on wheels and a variety of other services that allow older people to live reasonably full and independent lives, for a start. Cuts to services such as memory clinics and services for the huge chunk of the population suffering from dementia. Cuts to carers services; many older people are caring for someone. Older people might get to keep their spare rooms for no extra cost, but they're being screwed just as much as the rest of us.

Cantsleep Thu 03-Oct-13 14:50:46

Oaps not laps!

amicissimma Thu 03-Oct-13 14:54:33

The over 55s were explicitly told when they started working that their NI contributions were payments which would give them a State Pension from the age of 60/65 (women/men). Now we are told that pensions aren't funded by NI. It's a bit late for older people to do anything about that now.

People were encouraged to put money into pension funds. Under the rules at the time, people worked out how much they needed to save. Gordon Brown then simply stole a percentage of those funds, by changing the rules, so many people face a shortfall.

Many people aren't "lucky enough" to be able to save. Many people sacrifice things that others take for granted in order to save for their retirement.

Some people are rich. Some people are poor. This also applies to pensioners. Despite popular belief (encouraged by the BBC), the gap isn't growing also here. Benefits are index-linked. It's the people in the middle, workers and pensioners, who are bearing the brunt of the state of the economy - the very people who were the least responsible for the problems we now face.

ivykaty44 Thu 03-Oct-13 14:56:36

councils are swipping another 25% of social care and that is 25% of a budget that has already had 25% knocked of in the last 4 years so in a total of 8 years 50% will have been knocked off, care in the community for oap is the large majority that the budget is sent on.

How much more do you want to take away so that they have nothing left at all.

I doubt there will be any pension left when I retire as the pot will be dry, there is about a day and a half left in the pot opposed to a weeks worth back in the 1970/80's

georgettemagritte Thu 03-Oct-13 15:02:23

beast, sorry you are wrong, all modern Western financialised pension schemes, public and private, were designed, effectively, as generational "pyramid schemes", piggybacking on gains over time in productivity and population growth. If you save into a private pension what do you imagine happens? Your contributions are not in a savings account somewhere. They are used for speculation and the profits from investment in eg the stock market or property are paid out immediately to those exiting the scheme. The fund valuations are on-paper exercises to show that the apparent value of assets cover the total liabilities, but these are fictions in practice. No private pension scheme can guarantee it can cover all it's liabilities in the future across the life of the scheme - just look at what is happening to a variety of large funded pension schemes now. If you are in a private or corporate scheme, your future pension depends not just on the future economic environment, but also on others joining the scheme below you! (Plus, in the UK and most Western economies, the costs of paying into a private scheme are in effect substantially underwritten by the fact that state-backed pensions exist. If the state pension did not exist, the cost of providing pensions fully privately would be astronomical in order to hedge the future financial risk.)

DuckToWater Thu 03-Oct-13 15:02:26

I don't think older people could have done much about the more fortunate state pension and property etc arrangements they find themselves in. What some of them could do though is stop moaning about the younger people who are supporting their extensive welfare burden with their taxes.

georgettemagritte Thu 03-Oct-13 15:03:56

*its - damn autocorrect!

TrueStory Thu 03-Oct-13 15:06:33

YANBU! Pensioners should be means-tested. Alot of them are poor but alot of them are very comfortable, so not sure why the state is giving them extra cash shock.

ivykaty44 Thu 03-Oct-13 15:06:51

tax is less now though that in the 1980's when I started work the income tax rate was 30% for a basic tax payer duck so now tax is less and the workforce is not supporting the extensive welfare burden - that is why we only live a day and a half at a time in this country rather than a week at a time as we used to do

ivykaty44 Thu 03-Oct-13 15:07:32

so not sure why the state is giving them extra cash - because there is lot of them and they vote

StanleyLambchop Thu 03-Oct-13 15:14:25

I found that both my parents were indirectly affected by cuts to other services eg my mother has dementia and trying to find a daycentre so that we as a family could have respite care was very difficult as the funding has been cut and so a lot of daycentres have closed, with those that remain operating more as a friendship club for pensioners who are still of sound mind, but not suitable for the special requirements of dementia sufferers. That is just one example, I am sure there are more.

ninilegsintheair Thu 03-Oct-13 15:14:29

As soon as young people realise this then generational politics will become very very nasty. When pensioners were the poorest group in society young people did not mind paying for them. When young people realise they are being shafted to preserve the entitlements of asset-wealthy baby boomers it will suddenly get very difficult to persuade working-age people that they should pay for health, social and state care for those in the older generation who are not wealthy.

I'd say that was already happening, certainly amongst my circle (later 20's-early 30's folk who are either single or with very young families). The mutterings have begun.

MadeOfStarDust Thu 03-Oct-13 15:15:08

Duck... you do know that pensioners mainly USED to work... and their taxes were used to pay for your education, healthcare etc... as well as their older generation's pensions etc.... everyone moans..

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 03-Oct-13 15:27:20

BTW... what hardships have OAPs faced? Let's see. A 70 yo today born in 1943 would have faced rationing in their early years, little access to further education in their teens, a bit of a purple patch in their 20s, rampant inflation and extortionate taxes in their 30s closely followed by high unemployment and lots of spending cuts in their 40s. In their 50s there would have been some big hikes in mortgage rates and more unemployment to contend with. If they still had a job after all that and retired age 65 in 2008 they'd have been buying annuities in the middle of a stock-market crash and credit crunch ....

3asAbird Thu 03-Oct-13 15:32:18

Can I repeat I don't hate pensioners.

I was asking a sensible question and apart from

council cuts which would be regional.

cant see any central cuts made.

I think there was a time when pensioners were low income group.

But we live longer now and those who can retire early have a nice life if they have money.

1 of my nans was poor and still is, my other nan and her sister were quite well off.

There was times in past where

loads jobs
you could bring up family on 1 income.
living costs were not as high.
Housing was affordable and even social housing was availiable.
pensions where employers contributed.

many people I know in 20,s and 30s don't have a work pension.

I read and see lots on tv about they paid their stamp they entitled/

Not many of my grand parents generation worked like parents have to work now.

Free high education.
fe colleges were better then and apprenticeships were real leg ups for my parents generation not dumbed down low paid non jobs they are today used to be called yts when i was in school and sold as great idea for kids leaving at 16.

I know a few people families and friends who from age 16 until 20,s been in low paid part time work as cant find anything else and living at home with parents and have few prospects of promotion of full time hours.

During late 90s I had part time job in nursing home.
The majority of residents were private not many on social care plan.

On occasion I risk getting the over expensive useless bus and its filled with oaps as they go lots day trips whilst see others walking miles to work in the rain.read recently local low income people walking 6 miles to nearest food bank and 3 half miles to job centre.

I have 2 wealthy pensioners next door who like to moan, both run fairly new cars, always having home improvement work done, going shopping, holidays ect yet they use the bus a lot.
Guess least keeps bus companies in business. sensible.

As the governer of bank of England is canadian and they vote as a group like to think they making independent decision they not rising interest rates as they worried as recovery is fragile don't think anyone at government forcing their hand.Maybe im being idealistic on this one.

If they want a sensible argument about cuts then they need to face facts that pensioners are the biggest bill in dwp budget.

That bashing other groups at conference is vote winner for they grey right vote like it would please them to make other groups suffer seems perverse that denying young people opportunities they had.

The people who fought in war getting smaller.
Baby boomers freely admit they had it good david willis wrote a book about it, paxman admits it too.

But have heard the whole young people dont know they born.
When I worked full time after baby no 1 getting judged by elderly people for not being there including my mum mum.

Saw bit on this week janet street porter arguing why they should keep everything.

There are entitled people in every group but seems to be lots in older generation too.

Its morally wrong with all the cuts that it funds jags, heating in holiday home shopping, hair dressers whilst poor pension, people on disabillity,young people, job seekers all expected to get cuts.

Raising kids is expensive and cost living is high.

The average family has lots outgoings that a pensioner would not have.

Maybe this divide and rule pitting one group against another is working.

If we so broke we need to decide what we can afford.
not make soundbites for next election.

Kinnane Thu 03-Oct-13 15:35:45

It's a bit sad that some people think that the State Pension is a 'benefit payment'. State pension which is £100 per week has been paid for by pensioners in their working life. It is not a 'benefit'. Another part to consider is that many pensioners do not receive a full pension. I think you need to work about 40 years to receive a full pension. Their are many sons and daughter who help look after their pensioner parents,

MistressDeeCee Thu 03-Oct-13 15:36:24

Pensioners get more of what they want because they get off their backsides and vote. Of my friends, hardly any bother to vote. Theyre happy to moan about government cuts, tho. Pensioners have worked for years and paid their dues, my attitude is leave them alone.

By the time we reach pension age there'll be more than enough to worry about. But if Id worked all my life and were lucky enough to reach old age and have some comfort, I wouldnt feel anyone has the right to moan about that at all. As ever, government cuts result in working classes turning on each other to see who has what. Better to get up and vote against the government who are engineering chaos and misplaced envy, and encourage everyone else you know to do so too.

kilmuir Thu 03-Oct-13 15:47:07

Op you sound jealous and juvenile.
Younger people expect more from the government. My nan worked hard all her life, no handouts then.
Younger people live beyond their means, are snobby about which jobs. They do and are lazy. And not very well educated.My uncle runs a quarry, says some of the young british are bad workers, unreliable etc. he can rely on Polish workers to put in a full days work. They are less used to hand outs for sitting on their arses.

youretoastmildred Thu 03-Oct-13 15:52:50

Several posters have pointed out that OAPs have to live off pensions, state or otherwise, or whatever else they have accumulated, as they are not able to go out and earn more.

Yes, but there is a blatant inequity in the value of their earnings in their day, and the value of our earnings now. I think they like to think that they are awfully wise and clever to have put something away for a rainy day, back then, but in the here and now, many working people struggle to do so as:

jobs are scarce and insecure. Many people in apparently well paid jobs alternate periods of employment with periods of redundancy and job hunting. Averaged out that really lowers your income and your ability to save
housing relative to incomes are shocking
energy, transport, other unavoidable costs similarly shockingly high relative to income
many two-income families may look well off in a gross sense but factor in childcare, as well as the above, and it disappears (many oaps had SAHPs in the family and don't understand that doubling the workers doesn't double the income)
Many will be paying tuition fees
Many of the lower paid will lose their jobs altogether as they get made into workfare situations

So you aren't comparing like with like when you point out that the OAPs have had their time of earning money, and we are having ours now. It is a time difference that is equivalent to a geographical difference: it is like asking why someone in Mumbai isn't earning the same as someone in London and expecting the person in Mumbai to take the difference on the chin, while imposing the same bills and costs and expenses on them both, and treating them both as members of the same economic community

Beastofburden Thu 03-Oct-13 15:55:22

georgette we may lose our audience here if I get too geeky grin but you know, valuations of schemes don't rely entirely on new people joining them. An immature scheme can allow a bit for that, but on the whole what you are valuing is the difference between the returns you get on your investments and the likely rise in the value of your liabilities. You future cashflows have to match. The key thing is how much more your investment yield is than the inflation on salaries and pensions. There's lots of ways of working it out, and you have a certain number of years to cover a deficit, but if your valuation shows too big a gap between assets and liabilities, the regulator will insist on contributions going up to cover the difference.

None of that is true of government run schemes, they alone are allowed to be unfunded, as the jargon has it.

Agree entirely that if we made state pension means tested then it would be expensive to maintain the existing standard of living for wealthy pensioners. They would have to become correspondingly poorer. Which is not going to happen- as I said, it's actually going the opposite way.

Ok, everyone else can wake up now, pension geeks have finished grin

georgettemagritte Thu 03-Oct-13 16:03:48

Cogito they also experienced the longest peacetime boom period in global modern history, globally unprecedented wealth, access to water, free basic and highereducation, health and social care, no compulsory military service or wartime draft, cheap energy as fossil resources were consumed, massive leaps in productivity, living standards, life expectancy, increasing wealth and the financial gains from three unprecedented one-off economic shifts (automation, mass entry of women into the labour force, labour arbitrage through globalisation - all of which will never be repeated. As well as several smaller one-off productivity gains from eg. North Sea oil, privatisation and the biggest asset price bubble in history). They are the first global generation to look forward in mostly good health to what could be thirty or more years of funded retirement. A Western 70-year old is, no kidding, one of what is the luckiest generation ever in global history. (Disclaimer: obviously this does not apply to every individual 70-year-old: I am talking about aggregate cohorts.)

Median real incomes stagnated in the US from the 1970s and in the UK from the 1990s so following generations will never experience their lifetime peak earnings growing in the same way compared to inflation. Automation has slowed massively and the productivity gains from women working and global labour arbitrage can't be repeated; plus we are running up against ecological resources constraints which are non-negotiable, so it's hard to see what could fill in for the generations coming behind.

PlatinumStart Thu 03-Oct-13 16:04:31

My parents spend their WFA heating the pool hmm

They were never wealthy when I was a child - although obviously with a pool I'm not going to try and argue they were hard done by. But they bought a house when I was in primary school for 65k that they later sold for £1 million.

My dad is on a civil service pension that sees him receiving a significant % of his final salary. Life is one permanent holiday for them and whilst I don't begrudge them I certainly think they, and their friends are extraordinarily fortunate.

SueDoku Thu 03-Oct-13 16:09:34

Maybe this divide and rule pitting one group against another is working.

Truer words never were written – the idea of getting the ‘lower orders’ to turn on each other rather than notice what’s going on above them has been used for centuries (most recently in the 1930s) to allow those who are really benefitting to tighten their grip on the reins of wealth creation.

The average family has lots outgoings that a pensioner would not have.

Such as? Everyone eats and drinks, needs warmth and food, needs to use transport to get around (if they are able to), needs clothes and shoes and - if they are lucky - some form of communication (phone, Internet) and entertainment (TV, radio). If someone owns or rents a house, they all need to pay council tax, water rates, insurances and – if they are the owner - need money for maintenance and decorating.

Most pensioners have brought up a family, and so have had the expense of feeding and clothing their children (and yes, it was as difficult then as it is now to pay for school shoes, winter coats etc), finding money for school trips and outings, buying birthday and Christmas presents and attempting to pay for some kind of a holiday (often camping because it was cheap).

All of the above done on (often) one wage – not because it was easy, but because chldcare was so difficult to find – and with interest rates of up to 17%.

Please stop making us sound as though all those years of scrimping and saving were to allow us to live in the lap of luxury, rather than to allow us to have a modicum of dignity and happiness after working bloody hard for half a century. angry

Grennie Thu 03-Oct-13 16:12:08

It sounds like lots of you know well off pensioners. Perhaps not surprising as those on mumsnet appear to be financially better off than average. I know plenty of poor pensioners. Those living in rented accommodation and living on state pensions.

Those who are in poverty are also far more likely to be chronically ill or disabled. They are also more likely to be carers for others. They get very little help in this role.

Instead they get people who come from better off backgrounds bashing them. I suspect those bashing are from better off backgrounds and will inherit houses, etc in their old age.

Bash the rich if you want. But to focus on elderly people because the elderly people you know are well off, is pretty disgusting.

ivykaty44 Thu 03-Oct-13 16:12:32

council cuts which would be regional.

cant see any central cuts made.

councils get their budgets from central government along with council tax - central government have cut the budgets for councils and told them not to raise council tax - how is that not central government making cuts?

ivykaty44 Thu 03-Oct-13 16:16:52

Not many of my grand parents generation worked like parents have to work now.

Oh come on some people work hard some don't work so hard and some are flipping lazy - it isn't a generation monopoly.

My grandparents went without a lot during their lives and certainly didn't have the home comforts many take for granted now but that is neither generations fault it is progress

Grennie Thu 03-Oct-13 16:20:08

The Laqbour Government had something called decent homes standards that every home was supposed to meet. The research they did showed that elderly poor owner occupiers were in the absolute worst housing. Because they did not have the money for repairs and maintenance.

Age UK I know certainly used to give out small grants for desperate expenditure e.g. the 80 year old frail woman I knew who was living in a 2 bedroom terraced house, with rain coming through the roof because she couldn't afford to mend the roof.

They always used to run out of money long before the year was up.

Grennie Thu 03-Oct-13 16:21:55

And whenever we have a cold winter, elderly people still die because they can't afford to heat their house.

youretoastmildred Thu 03-Oct-13 16:21:56

I was thinking about this the other day about what "comfortable" (materially) now means. I am a higher rate tax payer, DP almost is. You would think we would be rich. But we (along with so many others, good heavens I am not moaning) do not live like the middle class people of the 80s when I was growing up.

Our car dates from 1996 and is an embarrassment and I can't think how we can afford to replace it. We use it as little as possible. We are very stingy with the heating. I buy all my clothes in charity shops. I buy most of the dcs' clothes on ebay. I walk 5 miles a day to save on public transport costs. There are many things we just do not buy: juice, packaged snacks, beef, lamb, pork, anything that costs over a certain amount. I can't bear making packed lunches because I get home knackered after a 12 hour day but we can't afford £2.05 a day every day so we compromise and get dd1 two school lunches a week, which is partly for social reasons, at least that is how I justify what feels like awful decadence. There is a leak in the shower so we haven't used it for two months while we save up to get someone in to look at it.

I know these are not terrible hardships and I like to think I would be like that anyway to some extent - walking is good for you, packaged snacks are stupid junk carbs, etc. But I think about how people were when I was younger and the people on our big-housed, leafy road did not live like this. We did, and my parents made a huge song and dance about being impoverished academics. but I sold out, dammit. I work for an evil global corporation which is fucking rolling in it. I wanted a comfortable life. I didn't want my children to be like me, feeling sad and dorky in their naff shoes that look like little pies. How has this happened to me? Where is my piece?

Grennie Thu 03-Oct-13 16:26:17

"The harsh reality of low income in later life

1 in 6 pensioners (1.8 million or 16% of pensioners in the UK) live in poverty, defined as 60% of median income after housing costs
Pensioners are also the biggest group of people on the brink of poverty with 1.2 million on the edge
Low income in retirement is often linked to earlier low pay, or time out of employment - for example, due to caring responsibilities, disability or unemployment
Women, those age 80 to 84, single people living alone, private tenants, and Pakistani and Bangladeshi people are at greater risk of pensioner poverty
The numbers of people living on low income fell between 1997/98 and 2004/5; since then there has been little improvement."


So overall nearly two thirds of pensioners are in poverty or on the brink of it.

Maybe next time someone talks about families struggling, I should talk about how I know families with big houses in the South and swimming pools. That would prove families are not poor - wouldn't it?

bassetfeet Thu 03-Oct-13 16:28:22

I feel so sad when I read this . Yes there are wealthy pensioners . Yes there should be means testing for winter fuel payments.
The easiest way would be to link it to pension credit for those receiving it. End of .

My Dh and I live on his state pension . I dont claim benefits and pay for all dental ,prescriptions etc . We worked hard as we all do if we can ...then illness struck . We helped our children with what little savings we had and when childcare is needed we will step in to help there .

Of course we are all in this together but I honestly dont know what more the govt can take off me ?

expatinscotland Thu 03-Oct-13 16:29:54

Have we had 'they worked hard and paid taxes and went through the War' yet? Because of course, no one has had it hard in the past 60 years or so.

fairy1303 Thu 03-Oct-13 16:30:15

I can't even begin to express how unreasonable you are being.

I am a social worker for older people - they do not 'get part of their social care needs paid so they can leave some wealth to their families' - people with low income/savings get a proportion paid, yes, but not a great deal - and social care is expensive.
If they have to go into residential care, they can expect to have all their income taken to pay it and left with £25 per week personal allowance.

These people have worked and contributed all their lives - and you are begrudging them their winter fuel allowance?!

Adult social care has been massively cut. Care services are not great at the moment. Social workers have to fight for every allocated penny.

I feel sick reading your post.

fairy1303 Thu 03-Oct-13 16:31:31

expat happy to contribute that line!

Grennie Thu 03-Oct-13 16:31:40

Totally, totally agree fairy. These are well off people jealous of their well off parents. They need a reality check.

expatinscotland Thu 03-Oct-13 16:32:45

Yep, there we go: worked and contributed. No one else does. We will get sweet FA and work till we drop, no 'we worked and contributed all our lives' for us.

Grennie Thu 03-Oct-13 16:34:46

expat - Will you be one of the current two thirds of elderly people living in poverty or on the edge of poverty? Or do you just mean you won't be able to retire early like some well off pensioners have?

expatinscotland Thu 03-Oct-13 16:35:00

Simple: NO MORE universal benefits. For anyone. Link them to those claiming pension tax credit and cut it for everyone else.

We are all in this together.

Viviennemary Thu 03-Oct-13 16:35:31

They haven't suffered many cuts because they hardly get any benefits. If they have savings they probably get nothing.

Bowlersarm Thu 03-Oct-13 16:41:13


And sound a bit mean tbh. I am pleased our societ looks after the elderly.

However, I think your wish will come true op. The pensioners of the future will be the obvious group for tackling ex

Bowlersarm Thu 03-Oct-13 16:42:26


....for tackling economically.

A lot of us will suffer when we reach pension age.

expatinscotland Thu 03-Oct-13 16:44:26

'expat - Will you be one of the current two thirds of elderly people living in poverty or on the edge of poverty?'

If I were to live to be elderly, then yes, I would be one of those in poverty. I am a member of Exit, however, and have made plans to join my daughter in death whenever I weary of life here, which is proving tiresome already.

SilverOldie Thu 03-Oct-13 16:59:52

Here are my realities being a pensioner:

Apart from oap I receive a small private pension, less than £400 a month.

Have no car - can't afford it

Have not had a holiday for over 10 years - can't afford it

Worked without a break from the age of 16 to 60 despite developing osteo arthritis in spine, hips (3 replacement ops) and knees in my mid 30s. Which effectively meant I was in severe pain every single working day from then until the age of 60.

Because of my disability, can't walk to the nearest bus stop so can't use buses therefore no bus pass.

Saved for years to buy a flat (at hugely higher interest rates than they are now), and I now own my property outright. It will be used to fund any care I may need as I get older.

The small amount of savings I have earns virtually zero interest and is gradually being eroded away. But I have zero debt - ie no credit cards for which I'm thankful. Nor have I ever applied for any benefits from the Government.

I am single, couldn't have children and the men I had a serious relationship with eventually left to marry women with whom they then had children.

What bit of my life do you want? Yes to the owned house I expect but I doubt you would find the rest very enjoyable.

YABU and and are jealous despite denying it.biscuit

Mrsdavidcaruso Thu 03-Oct-13 17:19:48

Silveroldie the voice of reason and experience I am sick of people like the OP whinging about pensioners.

My own Dad is 84 and apart from his national service has worked and paid into this country for nigh on 70 years yes thats right he is still working and STILL pays tax on both his wages and his pension, and there he was last year in fucking tears as he could not afford to give my Mum the lady he was married to for 60 years the type of funeral he wanted, as he couldn't afford it luckily he has 4 daughters who all chipped in.

BTW dont expect Labour to start taking away pensioners 'benefits' if they get in as the vast majority of working class pensioners who don't have huge final salary pensions, who live in social housing, who are too old to drive and need their bus passes are Labour supporters, and it aint just Tory pensioners who vote you know

SilverOldie Thu 03-Oct-13 17:47:01

Thank you Mrsdavidcaruso

So sad to read about your Dad but so pleased that you and your sisters could pay for him.

I'm one of the Tory voters referred to. Having seen what Labour did to this country how anyone can vote for them is beyond my comprehension. And let's face it, if they did unfortunately get in, they are highly unlikely to reverse any of the policies that the current Govenment have put in place.

fairy1303 Thu 03-Oct-13 17:47:03

mrsdavid your post has just made me cry.

Your poor dad. I'm so glad you wonderful daughters chipped in.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 03-Oct-13 17:52:58


And since when has a pension been a benefit in the same way jsa has? When these pensioners started working they were told that their NI contribution went towards their pensions. So it's money they worked for

On paper my grandfather has an absolutely stellar private pension. Are my grandparents well off? Are they fuck.

daisychain01 Thu 03-Oct-13 17:57:36

I'm getting a bit sick of the fact that the pensioners are being left out of the cuts

How lovely.

Maybe wait until you are at the age of retirement, having contributed all your working life to this country, then decide whether that is a nice way to think and a good attitude to have.

And the pensioners you are talking about may well have been people who fought the War for our freedom

Yuk, just yuk to this.

expatinscotland Thu 03-Oct-13 17:59:27

WWII ended 68 years ago.

daisychain01 Thu 03-Oct-13 18:03:05

And your point is, expatinscotland? .... yes thankfully it was the last world war - maybe that gives a message about the sacrifices made!

Shameful some of the comments on this thread.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 03-Oct-13 18:09:15

I think expat was pointing out the majority of today's pensioners are likely to be the children of men/women involved in the war given it ended 68 years ago...

chibi Thu 03-Oct-13 18:21:42

to be fair, there are probably shitloads of 90+ year old veterans of the second world war around.

orrrrrr not

i look forward to paying through the nose for the brave hippies who grew their hair for our country's freedom. or something.

Pinupgirl Thu 03-Oct-13 18:24:59

Yanbu-my inlaws love to go on and on about how they are "poor" pensioners. They own 2 homes-made a mint thanks to being able to buy their council house and sell it. They both have private pensions-despite the fact my mil retired at 40. They get the winter fuel allowance,free bus passes,free rail travel,now have a blue badge for their 2 cars and are trying to claim other benefits due to mil having a very minor accident a couple of years ago.

I know many pensioners like them and very few whom I would class as "poor".

daisychain01 Thu 03-Oct-13 18:27:18

Yes Alis - agreed, you and Expat may be technically correct, although there are still many people over 90 years old that fall into the category of OAP (my MIL is one, who contributed to the war effort, and thank goodness still lives an independent life - having worked hard all her life - lost my FIL only 2 years ago, and he was in the War too).

Maybe I find some of the language and sentiments expressed generally are too difficult to reconcile. I have gladly paid into the system for decades and don't resent the prospect of 'losing out' if it means OAP's have their winter fuel allowance and whatever else people don't want them to have. Hopefully when my turn comes, I won't be at the mercy of this type of thinking.

But I respect everyone is entitled to their own point of view, it is a public forum.

daisychain01 Thu 03-Oct-13 18:33:12

and I have no doubt that I come across as self-righteous, this topic does divide opinion - maybe that's what the government wants! grin

cooeeyonlyme Thu 03-Oct-13 18:37:45

I work 36 hours a week, have 3 children and bills coming out of my ears.
My nana gets more money than i do per year, how the feck does that happen?

I don't begrudge it but i don't see why i have to sit in one room with my kids of a winter while my nana gets to spend her not needed wfa on a perm.

We need to have a level playing field here, it's not right at all.

I have to pay £6 per day for buses for my two eldest to get to high school, that's not including the dinner money they need too!

Bus passes were scrapped in our area for the kids and now we all need to pay for them unless you're on the dole.

youretoastmildred Thu 03-Oct-13 18:41:04

Daisychain. You will be at the mercy of this kind of thinking when your time comes. That is the whole point. The good times are over. We won't see the comfort some of the generation above us took for granted, ever. We will struggle all our lives and now, as times are so hard, support some in a style to which we can never hope to become accustomed. Why is this fair?

Mrsdavidcaruso Thu 03-Oct-13 18:42:53

sorry fairy didn't mean to make you cry but just because some pensioners are rich does not mean all of them are.

campion Thu 03-Oct-13 18:43:13

My mum , 83. Widow.Nearest child 120 miles away. Small pension on top of OAP ( she did actually work for it). Entitled to zilch apart from universal benefits. Bus pass not much use as no buses nearby and can't walk far. Uses taxis to do shopping. Looks after house and garden as best she can. Good neighbours. Gets on with it.

That comes from a lifetime of getting on with it. Schooling rather affected by WW2 ( though she can construct proper sentences). Left school at 14 and worked.Lived in condemned cottage with 1 cold water tap and outside loo for 11 years after marriage because there was a housing shortage. Got on with it - and 3 well scrubbed children.
My twin brother developed leukaemia. Universal death sentence in those days. No help with transport back and forth to hospital appointments and no car. She got on with it. She and my dad worked hard, paid their bills, asked for nothing and set an example to their children.

You know, I think she deserves her winter fuel allowance.She spends it on - guess what?... her fuel bills.

youretoastmildred Thu 03-Oct-13 18:53:00

Champion your mother sounds like a wonderful person.
But I don't think anyone wants to take the fuel allowance away from anyone who needs it.

Alisvolatpropiis Thu 03-Oct-13 18:54:53


I do agree with you. I said the OP was being unreasonable in my initial post.

Thymeout Thu 03-Oct-13 18:58:31

You'retoast - Not so, I'm afraid. Doubt if Campion's mother gets pension credit, if she has a private pension, no matter how small.

Several posters have said WFA and bus pass should be restricted to pensioners on pension credit. You have to be on v low income to get it.

Minifingers Thu 03-Oct-13 19:21:43


At least for some pensioners.

My mother's friends are late 70's and 80's - ex senior midwives, health visitors, teachers, head-teachers, lecturers, senior civil servants, engineers.

They have had:
- Free higher education for their children
- Student grants for their children
- Many retired early and have been living on their occupational pension for 25 or 30 years.
- Their mortgages were paid off decades ago and they have a huge amount of equity in their homes.
- Many of them bought shares in privatised utility companies and inherited money from their parents.

Some go on 2 or 3 cruises a year, do their food shopping in M&S and Waitrose, buy a new car every 3 years, and have had 100's of thousands of pounds worth of NHS treatment, many for conditions complicated by obesity and lack of exercise.

They all moan about the unemployed and immigrants. They talk about paying into the system for years. I don't point out to them that they have taken far, far more out than they ever contributed in taxes. It makes me want to scream.

MistressDeeCee Thu 03-Oct-13 19:22:25

There are too many people who spend their lives begrudging & envying others. So meanminded as to want everybody to have it hard, as if thats somehow going to improve their lot. They dont look at the rich - just those alongside them, the people who enrage them as they seem to have a little bit more. These people are probably the ones who caused us to have this ruthless coalition government in the 1st place...theyre never really against the cuts, just looking around for more people they feel should have their money plundered. & behind the scenes theyll be the ones who vote Cameron right back in again. Curtain-twitchers rule.

sydlexic Thu 03-Oct-13 19:40:20

I am 51 and quite well off. When I was younger and had a mortgage to pay at 15% interest and paying a nanny Things were hard. The DC grew up, the mortgage got paid off, wages increase with each promotion. The DC leave home and then you have all that spare income you wanted when they were small.

georgettemagritte Thu 03-Oct-13 19:56:11

15% interest bingo!

The data on record shows that interest rates were at 14.79 between 1 Oct 1989 and 1 Sept 1990 - less than a year. In total the interest rate was above 10% for less than four years between 1988 and 1992.

During large parts of the 80s interest rates were at historical norms around 6-8% (albeit higher than current rates; they were also higher in the 70s into the early 80s but wage inflation was high during that period so wages were often rising above interest rates and general inflation was inflating away debts so people were getting richer in real terms anyway.)

Now interest rates are at historic lows, but wage inflation is low (1% or less) and price inflation is much higher than wage inflation (at 4-5%+) so we are getting poorer.

evilkitten Fri 04-Oct-13 07:22:57

Interest rates may have been at nearly 15%, but this isn't the whole picture. These rates were in place for a very short time - a far shorter period than the current 'economic downturn'. MIRAS was in place, so a substantial proportion of the interest was paid before tax. Borrowings were much lower compared to household incomes, so thats 15% of not much compared to ~5% of a lot today. If I find the time today, I might work out the comparative interest rate. Finally the inflation rate was higher, so the mortgage capital was reducing in real terms.

The picture is very different today. Interest is low, but the borrowings are very high. Inflation and pay increases are also low. While previous generations found their mortgages becoming more affordable over time, this isn't the case today. They remain a millstone for the full 30 years term.

I wouldn't want to be in my 20s/30s today. We complain that they're feckless etc., but the policies of recent governments have infantalised them. Given that they have had to pay for their education, buy their jobs through periods of unpaid work etc., it's no real wonder that they don't feel as though anything is owed to their parents' generation. I've no idea what they should do about it though. They may not vote, but then there is no political party courting their vote.

I'm amazed there haven't been riots. Maybe it's because that generation - far from being feckless whiners - are actually knuckling down and getting on with it.

Beastofburden Fri 04-Oct-13 07:32:48

T be fair to sy I also had a mortgage then and I remember that although libor went down, they took their bloody time reducing the mortgage rates sad

janey68 Fri 04-Oct-13 07:36:44

This is ridiculous trying to play a tit for tat game about who had it hardest. There are so many variable to consider anyway... Yes it's true that interest rates were at double figures for just a few years which isn't long in the scheme of things- but my god, those years were damn tough when you had small children. Another thing people tend to forget is that back in those days people had to pay 100% of their childcare costs- and for a lot longer too, as maternity leave finished at 12 weeks so you'd be paying full childcare for almost 5 years til the child started school. Not so now, with tax credits, 52 weeks maternity leave and Subsidised childcare at 3 years .

No, I don't envy the younger people of today- I think there are many obstacles facing them which those of us in our 40s didn't face, but equally there are many things we faced which they won't have to. Parental rights are far better and have a direct knock on to making childcare more affordable, and there is help for those on Lower incomes.

I also disagree with the OP in that the majority of OAPs are not wealthy, many are struggling To get by and don't have a great quality of life

Beastofburden Fri 04-Oct-13 07:38:50

Do georgette and evil have any data that shows us the overall picture for OAPs? The data we saw from the earlier poster was interesting.

Obviously very rich people shouldn't get universal benefits. The question is, how typical are these very annoying rich pensioners? You know what they say, the plural of anecdote isn't data. We saw some data earlier that said 60% of OAPs are living in poverty. Does that make it a reasonable thing to target benefits at them? How many younger people are in the same boat? Is poverty more or less common in OAPS and the young?

Badvoc Fri 04-Oct-13 07:39:17

This govt is targeting the poorest and most vulnerable in society...as they always do.
They are trying to make the rest of us feel superior to those less fortunate or who need help in look after themselves or their family....divide and conquer.
I truly believe that this govt will sound the death knell for free state education and NHS care free at point of access.
It's all going to go.
So enjoy it whilst you can.

Badvoc Fri 04-Oct-13 07:42:30

I also think the govt made a grave mistake keeping interest rates so low.
Trouble is a massive % of mortagages are IO ATM so unless they want to trigger a huge housing market fall they have no choice.
I think IO mortgages should be banned.
My sis has an IO mortgage. She is now in negative equity and can't move.
How many people with IO mortgages have a repayment vehicle in place? Ime very very few.

Salbertina Fri 04-Oct-13 07:46:48

But Janey, relatively speaking such childcare support etc is peanuts when houses are so unaffordable!

Also i do think it should be discussed and reviewed - how else is gov to set policy?? Unfortunately all govs take the short-term view of pleasing the most influential voters (ie those most prone to turn up in vast numbers to vote) who are of course OAPS! As a result, they have a vastly disproportionate advantage when it comes to policy-making.

Am absolutely with Mini and other posters, the older generation benefited so much from the welfare state - free higher education, extensive welfare, good pensions, affordable housing. Yes am envyenvy

Am also staggered that 20-somethings aren't are there rioting about this but they're too bloody passive probably too busy working two jobs to pay the bills.

Thymeout Fri 04-Oct-13 08:16:23

Free higher education for how many? I think I saw a figure of 6% in the 50's/60's. The overwhelming majority left school at 15. Even at the direct grant school I attended, many went on to non-degree level f.ed - not universities.

Extensive welfare? You're joking. Far fewer benefits.

Good pensions - which took a fair chunk out of our salaries, particularly in the public sector. And the only reason the public sector still have pensions is the unions. There's a lesson there.

MadeOfStarDust Fri 04-Oct-13 08:26:06

My mum is a pensioner - she is typical of those around her....

she lives in a council house - there was never this "You must buy" thing around..... no "nest egg" to fall back on
she had 4 kids and was abandoned by a feckless husband.... there was no CSA.... there were no "child tax credits"... she worked 2 jobs ( one during the school day, one after we were in bed and the neighbour listened through the wall.... ) to make ends meet
she lives "up north" way up north , her pension covers her outgoings in the warmer weeks...

All these benefits she supposedly had..... extensive welfare - errrmmm no - she worked, no CSA, no CTC , free higher education - ermmm yep - for the top 20% of the academic types - none of this 60%+ go to uni lark - you left school and got off your butt and worked... "welfare" was for the poor unfortunate souls who could not work... it was a time of "shame" where it was seen as shameful to take something from the state, and people did it for as short a time as possible..

(Oh and when Bank of England rates were 14.something, I was paying 75% of my wages on my mortgage! House prices were low - but so were wages! - every generation has had their hard times..)

Salbertina Fri 04-Oct-13 08:28:37

That was not this for this generation of OAPs though!
By 1980s. 20-25% were going to uni and yes, it was much much easier than now to sign on, get housing benefit even free dental care back then. Along with far greater job security, much more affordable housing etc etc,

Salbertina Fri 04-Oct-13 08:36:32

I agree about higher ed (tho its a separate issue), far too many are going now and getting themselves into unnecessary debt for little return.

Bowlersarm Fri 04-Oct-13 08:37:54

Salbertini - people who went to university in the 1980's aren't the pensioners of today!

Salbertina Fri 04-Oct-13 08:41:27

Am fully aware of that! The parents of those going then are now and are therefore the beneficiaries of not paying fees, rent etc for their kids.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 08:41:59

smile I went to university in the 1980's. I don't expect to retire for at least another 20 years.

Preciousbane Fri 04-Oct-13 08:46:16

Direct your anger and frustration at the correct people, the politicians over many years of every political persuasion who have made terrible mistakes and also deliberate divisive self serving moves.

I think attacking the elderly is low.

toomanycourgettes Fri 04-Oct-13 08:49:26

I wonder how many on this thread will still be on Mumsnet when they are pensioners and complaining about the youth of the day.......... My M&D both left school at 14 - absolutely no thought of Higher Ed. They moved into a rented ROOM when they got married , not a house, not a flat, but a ROOM. NO HB, no WTC. They lived in rented accommodation until they were in their mid forties and finally managed to buy a tiny 3 bed semi.

My mum suffered bullying and harrassment at work, but there was nowhere to go to complain.

they never had a new car, never ate out, in fact rarely went anywhere that would cost money, rarely bought 'stuff'.

They are comfortable in retirement, and you know what, I'm really happy about that. their health is failing, and I'm glad they don't have to worry about heating and food bills.

I look at my life and if it's OK, I'm happy. I don't need to be on a level with the jones' to validate who I am, and I don't look at possessions and wealth as an indicator of success.

This thread is quite nasty. Envy is a nasty emotion.

Salbertina Fri 04-Oct-13 08:51:41

I think it's a cheap shot to say "attacking the elderly is low"- they're not a privileged group. They are ONE of several more vulnerable groups in society- the young, the sick, the disabled need equal support. And the latter tend to be much lower in the pecking order.

VoiceofRaisin Fri 04-Oct-13 08:59:52

georgette I think I am a tiny bit in love with you. It's great to see someone knowledgeable posting.

Posters who say that the older generation never had "benefits" are not well informed. CB was MUCH higher relatively speaking, personal tax allowances were much higher (so they didn't need TCs as they weren't paying tax in the first place), fuel was cheap (as the younger generation is having to pick up the true external cost of environmental degradation), land was cheap, their pension schemes were rashly over generous (final salary schemes were the norm and are basically unheard of for the current young and are now being paid for by the young), jobs were plentiful, they retire young (the next generation won't).

I can't remember the statistics but baby bookers will on average expect to be net takers from the govt over their lifetimes but the younger generation is expected to be net contributors (to pay for them).

OP YANBU Although some pensioners are poor, there are a lot who are very wealthy and are completely sheltered from "being in it together". The only real hit they have taken is falling interest and annuity rates - affecting those most who are currently retiring and have a lump sum to invest. But that doesn't affect those on final salary schemes or public sector pensions.

Pagwatch Fri 04-Oct-13 09:01:38

Good grief. My dad was still working when he died at 73.
He ever had a day out of work and when he died I had to reassure him that we would help my mum out by getting new fangled things like central heating put it.

This is exactly what the DM and the Torys you claim to hate want op.

Rats in a cage.

MadeOfStarDust Fri 04-Oct-13 09:13:26

Pensioners who are CURRENTLY on final salary public sector pensions are there because they made the choice...

the choice of lower salary and a "nice" retirement OR better salary and self funded retirement...

The public/private sector salaries were NOT on a level par then.....

Fuel may have been cheap - but most people did not even have ONE car - people lived near parents, near work, walked a lot - so much less of the environment was being damaged in the first place...... (my neighbours - 2 adults, 2 late teens - 4 cars! growing up - we got a car when I was 14)

chrome100 Fri 04-Oct-13 09:19:55

I am a single adult with no children. I have to say I have not noticed any cuts because I never got anything in the first place - no benefits, no extra money, no tax credits etc. I house share with three other people, despite being in my 30's, because it's the only way I can afford to live. I don't moan, that's life, and I think it's correct for me not to get handouts. I don't think that anyone should receive any money from the government unless they (genuinely) cannot feed/house themselves and it's good that cuts have been made to what were, in fact, very generous benefits.

nokidshere Fri 04-Oct-13 09:20:14

How immature and naïve is the statement "we are all in it together"?

Of course we aren't. That will never change. In any country, in any society there will always be those who have and those who haven't. There will always be some who benefit from the government decisions of the time, and there will always be some who will suffer.

There are always people who don't want to work and want everything on a plate. There will always be those who take advantage of every opportunity that they can find.

However much we deny it, the majority of people look at the economic situation from the point at which we are personally at in our lives. And every one of us would take full advantage of what was available to us at the time (and would be lying if we said we wouldn't).

We need to stop focussing on what happened then and sort out whats happening now. The economy 30/40/50 years ago might be responsible for the way the economy is now but we cant change what it was or blame the people of those generations for taking full advantage of it.

echt Fri 04-Oct-13 09:33:05

Excellent post by pagwatch and nokidishere.

So plain that the thrashing of teachers has palled and new targets are needed.

Thymeout Fri 04-Oct-13 09:33:55

This is a really depressing thread. Is it Thatcher's children talking?

In the 60's there was The Who and 'Hope I die before I get old'.

Now, all these young people envying the elderly. They have their youth and their health and their future. (At least they'll be alive!)

The elderly have none of these and they want their benefits cut?

nonmifairidere Fri 04-Oct-13 09:38:00

I know, it's shocking, old people, who have worked and saved all their lives for their retirement actually being able to afford to enjoy their later years. They should all be freezing in rags in the poor house. Shame on them.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Fri 04-Oct-13 09:40:11

The basic rate of tax was 33% in 1979 and took until 1988 to be cut to 25%.

so income tax is much lower now.

Salbertina Fri 04-Oct-13 09:50:13

Why is the mere mention of the need to evaluate who gets what at a time of huge cuts seen as an attack on the elderly?

Why is this group over-sentimentalized above all others, "worked all their lives" etc (well, maybe some of them did, but they're not alone!) ?

Why is any debate seen as Thatcher's children talking (never voted Tory in my life!) or selfish, envious words?

Why is any discussion in general terms answered with individual examples of hard-working pensioners?? The two aren't mutually exclusive. Of course there are many deserving, hardworking pensioners who have suffered. And others less hardworking etc, just as in every other generation.

Kinnane Fri 04-Oct-13 10:00:21

toomanycourgettes ".......... My M&D both left school at 14 - absolutely no thought of Higher Ed. They moved into a rented ROOM when they got married , not a house, not a flat, but a ROOM. NO HB, no WTC. They lived in rented accommodation until they were in their mid forties and finally managed to buy a tiny 3 bed semi.

My mum suffered bullying and harrassment at work, but there was nowhere to go to complain.

they never had a new car, never ate out, in fact rarely went anywhere that would cost money, rarely bought 'stuff'.

They are comfortable in retirement, and you know what, I'm really happy about that. their health is failing, and I'm glad they don't have to worry about heating and food bills.

I look at my life and if it's OK, I'm happy. I don't need to be on a level with the jones' to validate who I am, and I don't look at possessions and wealth as an indicator of success.........."


I believe I look at my life and if it's OK, I'm happy. I don't need to be on a level with the jones' to validate who I am, and I don't look at possessions and wealth as an indicator of success.........."
- a lesson in how we should live!!

littlemisssarcastic Fri 04-Oct-13 10:03:23

My mother is a pensioner. She has worked part time for most of her life, whilst bringing up her children as a single mother. She did not pay enough tax to attract a full state pension, so receives a mixture of pension credit, and part state pension. She lives in a 2 bed council house. All of her rent is paid, all of her council tax is paid (unlike people on other benefits) and she receives £145.40 a week. She would like to get £300 a week. When I explained to her that if she included her housing benefit and her council tax support, she is indeed on over £300 a week, she said she doesn't include that in her calculations, and wants £300 a week after rent and council tax are paid to keep her in line with everyone else!!

What I don't understand is if state pensions are so low as to attract sympathy from people as to how a pensioner is supposed to survive on a state pension, why is the same concern not extended to single people or indeed couples who are carers, unemployed, childless people on NMW, single parents?

A state pension for a single pensioner is £110.15, and if you are entitled to maximum pension credit, £145.40 per week for a single pensioner, and £222.05 per week for a couple.

Compared to £59.45 a week for a carer, £71.70 a week for an unemployed single person, and £112.55 for an unemployed couple, that makes pensioners 2 and a half times better off than a carer, twice as well paid as a single person on JSA, and on almost double the amount an unemployed couple receives?

If it is so difficult to survive on a pension, shouldn't the govt be giving some attention to the other groups I have mentioned and realising that if a pensioner cannot afford to heat or eat on 3x the amount a carer receives, then it's time to raise the amount other groups of people are receiving?

This isn't a race to the bottom btw, just an observation of mine that whilst it is sad that a lot of pensioners are at the mercy of the govt, they are actually the highest paid compared to almost every other group who are at the mercy of the govt.
I'm not suggesting that pensions are reduced, I am suggesting that other benefits should be looked at and possibly raised.

Personally, I do not come across many pensioners who are happy with how much they receive and they do want more, but how would we afford more when many other groups of people are already struggling?

And no, pensioners have not been hit by the cuts AFAIK, because they would surely make their voices heard loud and clear if they had to bear any cuts, a strategy that young people don't employ sadly.

Salbertina Fri 04-Oct-13 10:06:18

I hear you, LittleMiss, quite right!

nonmifairidere Fri 04-Oct-13 10:07:53

So now it's pensioner bingo. What fun.

Salbertina Fri 04-Oct-13 10:09:33

Only if you reduce it to that!
It could be a proper discussion of how to cut costs fairly across the generations.

nonmifairidere Fri 04-Oct-13 10:18:37

Golly, I wonder if someone could come up with detailed, foolproof plans to cut costs fairly so everyone would accept them and be happy. Oooo, look, a flying porker.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Fri 04-Oct-13 10:35:23

........that makes pensioners 2 and a half times better off than a carer, twice as well paid as a single person on JSA, and on almost double the amount an unemployed couple receives?

so how much should a pensioner receive?

youretoastmildred Fri 04-Oct-13 10:41:48

Great post, littlemisssarcastic.

Also noted that someone has pointed out, in a different way, a point that I made earlier: this is not a case of "let's support old people, we are lucky to be young and working and our time will come to be supported". We are, overall, paying more in our lives to support older people who will pay less and have a better lifestyle overall, because the decisions that determine their lives were made in a time of wealth and the decisions determining ours at a time of less wealth (though don't forget we are still in global terms a rich country and no one in this country should be badly off). The decisions were made a long time ago but the bills are being paid now. By us. And if you are going to say "oh no they earnt the money to buy the houses etc" - money is relative. The money they have, those who own houses, is directly at the expense of young people who cannot afford to buy houses (for instance)

I do however note that most of the hugest advantages accrue to those who had a bit of money to play with in the first place: those who were able to buy property, those who were able to buy shares in privatised utilities, those who had management jobs and were able to save or speculate, those in 2-parent families who for the first time had 2 earning adults before it became a necessity, those who were able to benefit from free education. I do accept that all of these advantages were only open to some people. However, NONE of them are available to us now in the same incredibly lucrative way. NONE.

and to those who weren't in a position to get rich in these ways - so they now depend on a state pension - they are no different from anyone else who is (arguably) excluded from work and opportunity (or arguably can't be arsed to work hard enough to be well off), it is just that it was their "then" and it is others' "now". It is no different to say of a 70 year old now, "ah, he couldn't earn enough to buy a house or save" from to say of a 22 year old with a degree and no job"aaah, he can't get a job and get on his feet" - but we don't have all that sentimentality about that young chap do we. why do we think that the old working class are salt of the earth and the young indigent are feckless scum? (clue: I do not.)

A couple of other points:

some said about the young adults of now

"the policies of recent governments have infantalised them"

YY. I could not agree more. We all know this from our children. If you don't give them choice, agency, dignity, respect, they refuse to take responsibility. they see everything as "Their problem", they are alienated and lazy. A teenager who has been asked to choose paint and curtains and help decorate their room treats it completely differently from a teenager who gets lumped with someone else's decor and treated like a toddler. You reap what you sow.

Young people are dependents well into their 20s and instead of earning or being decently paid to study they are sucking a deceptively sweet and tooth-rotting teat of debt (if at university). It is a deracinating and demoralising way to start life.

And similarly:

"The overwhelming majority left school at 15. Even at the direct grant school I attended, many went on to non-degree level f.ed - not universities."

Yes, the overwhelming majority left school at 15, to get jobs, and earn money, and start their lives. No, they did not earn much but it was a start, none of this endless marking time. You were working towards one day having your own home and maybe family. You could make plans.

And non-degree level f ed. It's all called degrees now, but a huge proportion of them are expensive crap. All these degrees aren't equivalent to the degrees of old. I believe young people should all have the opportunity of studying whatever is suitable for them to whatever level is to their benefit, I am not against this in any way, but it is nonsense to pretend that all these "degrees" they are getting now are equivalent to those achieved by a tiny percentage of people in the middle of the 20th century. Flame me if you want, but it is true. Now those true academics have to distinguish themselves by doing MAsters or more and it costs a fecking fortune.

williaminajetfighter Fri 04-Oct-13 10:43:23

Agree with Georgette. While there will always be rich and poor in every generation the boomer generation did experience great advantages which I dare say they take for granted. Of course benefits to the elderly should be means tested--I feel they are not because the govt sells us an image of elderly frail pensioners which isn't always the case.

Consider this:
- something like 80% of the wealth in the UK is held by those over 55

- across all women in the uK it is women over 65 who are the best off and have the most wealth. See latest HMRC stats on wealth (sorry cant figure out how to send the link)

- many who get the benefits have never worked or 'contributed' -eg many middle class women who lived in one salary families. Yet we don't call them scroungers do we?

- councils are cutting services because an increasing portion of their funds are going towards paying out final salary pensions to the mediocre staff who got to retire at 55. So it's a bit of swings and roundabouts.

The generational rift that exists and is growing is due to this alongside the fact that my parents generation who got hired in mgmt roles straight out of university, who dealt with a completely different working envt (not having to work 80 hour weeks stuck to their iPhone at home) and who benefitted a lot, seem to retain their sense of entitlement and have a very skewed view of what the world is like now for others.

Salbertina Fri 04-Oct-13 10:45:05

Mildred, i think i love you! smile

Bogeyface Fri 04-Oct-13 10:46:43


You are missing the point. The question should be "How much should a carer receive, if pensioners are said to be struggling to make ends meet on 2.5 times as much?"

Lazyjaney Fri 04-Oct-13 10:52:31

There is too much wealth owned by the elderly in the UK and yet they are also taking the lions share of the annual state spend, and it's distorting everything.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 10:52:33

Nearly two thirds of pensioners are in poverty or on the edge of poverty - Government definition of poverty. No these people are not having it easy.

If you want to argue to tax the rich more, including rich elderly people, I would agree with that.

And my dad started work at 15 years of age - full time. 15 year olds today are still regarded as children.

Don't play this stupid divide and rule game that the rich would like you to play. Look at who has the real power and who should be taxed more.

The government are making cuts everywhere, only the rich are safe.

Pensioners are not all wealthy, a lot of them are poor.

And Cameron isn't going to hurt his majority voters is he, as after all the pensioners are the ones that get of their butt to vote.

Lazyjaney Fri 04-Oct-13 10:56:11

Any state's future is in it's working population and especially in it's children, yet that is where the money is being pulled out. We are over investing in our past.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 10:57:35

The middle class in the past was very small. If your parents were part of the middle class when young adults, and they are now pensioners, they were very well off.

My mother, like most working class women, worked once the children were at school. These were poorly paid part time jobs. Because unless you were well off and could afford a nanny, there was no childcare.

Once I got a bit older, I was a latchkey kid. This was a well recognised phenomena.

Of course older people have more assets. If you come from a well off family, you don't tend to inherit until you are older. If you are from a well off family, you will probably start inheriting wealth aged 55 plus.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 10:59:26

Some of the views on here are just vile.

Older people die every cold winter because they haven't enough money to put the heating on. But to hell with nearly two thirds of poor pensioners.

Salbertina Fri 04-Oct-13 11:01:02

There's been much media discussion recently about the near disappearance of the middle-class as it's being squeezed out of existence.

zower Fri 04-Oct-13 11:02:31

"none of this endless marking time" - i find that interesting comment re. youth/young adulthood today. could you flesh out more what you mean youretoast?

youretoastmildred Fri 04-Oct-13 11:07:19

Bogeyface, that is a legitimate question, but I don't see it as the only question - I don't think I am missing the point, just putting the issue in bigger terms than just carers (which is a crucial part of it)

The bigger issue is fairness. We don't have it. There is so much hate peddled against various social groups and while I do not think it is a desirable aim to be "fair" by hating everyone, I think it is worth using this affection we seem to have for old people as a sort of lever to engineer a more general affection and respect for everyone. And part of that is to highlight how badly we seem to be letting down young people, the disabled, and yes, carers, and to whose advantage all this is.

Personally I do not buy all this "there is no money" bullshit and don't have some raging desire to go round turning off all the OAP's radiators, but what about this: where is the logic in their free public transport but not young people in education? Old people do not earn, so we pay for them to use public service that working people pay for instead. Agreed. What about the young people who don't earn yet? What about families with dependent children: why can't we pay for them to heat their houses because the children in those houses don't earn yet? The adult might earn, but the adult alone would only need a one bed flat and would heat it for peanuts. All this sort of thing was implicit, once, in significant child benefit, grants for 6th formers in education, a much higher real threshold for free school meals, generally available social housing, free school bus passes, etc etc . It is all being taken away. why?

Beastofburden Fri 04-Oct-13 11:12:41

If I look at other countries, there is a different take on this split of wealth between generations.

When I was growing up, my grandmother lived with us because she was too frail to live by herself. Her house was sold so we could buy something with a bedroom for her. I can't say any of us enjoyed the experience, as she was a VERY difficult woman, and my mother has vowed never to inflict herself on me or my sister.

This is also what my US cousins did- one cousin drew an admittedly very short straw and cared for years for my Aunt. On the Aunt's death, the cousin took over her flat, with the blessing of the entire family who understood that otherwise it would have been sold to pay for care anyway.

The politicians today imply that young people between 16 and 25 ought to live with their parents and not claim benefits. No politician has suggested that the elderly ought to live with their children. Of course, in both cases, there may not be any children/parents to live with in the first place.

Multi-generational living is making a serious comeback in Greece at the moment (and probably elsewhere) as people share houses, childcare and salaries in the face of extreme hardship, especially for the younger people. In the UK the trend is towards separate homes for each family unit and for each generation. We didn't use to live like this- poor people, anyway, back in the 1940s routinely had sisters, grannies, etc living with them.

I wish that rather than stir up resentment towards the older members of our families, we could rethink our recent habit of all living in separate homes. Young people could get access to all this equity, or at least to someone trustworthy as a landlord. Older people would not have spare bedrooms, they could help with childcare and be less alone in old age.

I personally am highly antisocial and a true introvert. Even the thought of multi-generational living makes me twitch. But I have an uneasy feeling that this is where I have become most spoilt over the years, not in financial terms, but in the level of privacy I expect in my forthcoming old age. There's no doubt that if I did this, I could offer far more help to my own adult children to buy their own homes.

Perhaps we just can't afford this social structure any more?

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 11:13:14

Older people are the biggest group of carers.

I don't think Mildred there is respect and affection for older people. I think we are a very ageist society that generally doesn't care about older people. It is no coincidence that many of the worst scandals in hospitals have been in wards for the elderly.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 11:14:37

And yes Mildred. When our current pensioners were young, many did live in the family home and take care of elderly relatives. That was fairly standard for all but the very well off. Young people are no longer willing to do this.

3asAbird Fri 04-Oct-13 11:18:50

Thanks sabertina/little miss.

God to have balanced discussion without being accused of

hating pensions, being very mean op! Or I want them to starve, die of cold and im a product of thatcher.

A few things from this thread have become clear.

We now page 7

No one has identified any specific cuts to this age group centrally.

I have no doubts council cuts but its up to each council what they cut ours has chosen bins and street lighting as many oaps up in arms about between 12pm and 5am no lighting as if so many roam the streets at this time of night.

wfa, bus passes, tv licences all remain for all pensioners.

pensioners biggest under occupiers in social housing so they protected from the subsidy.

I looked at availaible social housing in entire city I live in

currently no houses and lots of flats and 50%of the flats were for elderly people.

Other things made clear.

Is lots of people know lots of wealthy pensioners.

But I acknowledge that there are some very poor ones.

I have no problem with supporting the elderly when they need it,

I dont really have issues with pensions even thought retirement age will be 70 for me and im sure I will be a poor pensioner as neither of us have workplace pensions in place.

What my argument is and what the government say is we have limited money would rather see the money go to those who need it not to fund jags and holidays.

After all its them who demonsiing unemployed, and now under 25s and deciding whos the deserving poor-really hate that word.

Dont see why cant have proper debate about whats affordable and whats not.

Child benefit -we were told we had to share the pain.
Most people took it on the chin.

I did school run in rain today , buses are extorionate here so rare treat but often see peope struggling with little kids whilst the bus is full of pensionsers going on day trips. Also the cost for people get to work know people who walk miles to work .

Roud here people struggle to aford the £60 to send kids to senior school on bus. surly transport to school should be worthy cause of contribution.

Also how it works is people must think their passes mean payment each time. Its more a lump sum paid to bus companies not baed on actual usage so if only 50%opas use the bus then the bus company do well out of that and money is wasted just in case the pensioners want to take the bus instead of their cars.

Salbertina Fri 04-Oct-13 11:20:08

Depends on definition of carer, live-in etc? From what I've read, it's middle-aged women who form the biggest proportion of carers - of the disabled, ageing parents and of course often children still too.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 11:23:15

Ending additional benefits to rich pensioners would be fine. Some certainly don't need it.

In terms of bedroom tax, I am against the policy, but yes it would be fair to apply it to younger pensioners. Nobody is going to apply it to very elderly pensioners, because often when very elderly people move, they die very soon afterwards.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 11:26:53

If children are included, yes it is middle aged women. If disabled and elderly, it is pensioners.

The social care for elderly and disabled people has been slashed. Where I live there used to be day centres. home helps and carers to visit the home. Now very few people get access to these, and carers go in for a tiny amount of time to do the absolute basics.

A friend looks after her elderly mother who has carers in. When she is away, friends help out. Because otherwise she would be fed, but not much else.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 11:31:00

And the charge for home helps and carers is now extortionate. My friends elderly mother used to go to subsidised activities for the elderly with a bus pick up. She can't get public transport without a lot of help. Those activities no longer exist, and she can't afford to take taxis and hire a carer to visit ordinary clubs.

So basically unless her daughter takes her out, she is in the house 24/7. Without her, nobody would take her out and she would be very isolated and lonely.

nonmifairidere Fri 04-Oct-13 11:32:39

Blimey, who'd have thunk it, we live in a world where some people are better off than others. I know, let's redistribute all the wealth so we all have the same, then we'll all be happy. Wonder why no-one thought to try that before?

3asAbird Fri 04-Oct-13 11:43:00

On point multi generational living.

when i was young dads uncle lived with us.

When parents split we moved in with my nan for a while.

both my nans, aunts reguarly babysat-I dont remember childcare ever being an issue.

My aunt looked after great aunt when she was very elderly as she had no husband or children.

fast foward to now.

my mums remarried 2nd husband just brought her dream home.
her husbands on 14k a year but he had equity.
they holiday least twice a year.
They not even retirement age
she doesnt want either of us me or my sister back home.
she rarly babsyits we 50miles apart and says i brought up my kids dont want to bring up yours.

I dont have great relationship as find her very selfish and couldent wait to move out 19 never moved back.
Im sure if we lived round corner she be equally useless.

On other side of family are in in inlaws

5years ago fil became very ill, he lost aleg and mil refused to have him back home. Said at time to hubby no way we putting your dad in a home we would move and look after him. sadly he died in hospital random heart attack.

He left everything to his wife not sure he had a will.

Mil since has gone bit crazy.
she rarly leaves house.

hubby does her shoping for her, any odd jobs , his brother does slightly less.

Any appointment dental, opticains we take her to.
we invite her round to ours she refuses, same with sports day, nativity,she wouldent even attends the kids chrstenings.

Over the years her healths not been best nothing major but she refuses to see a gp whenever we try push her to get help she threatens to cut hubby out of her will. last year she said she was leaving money to samartitans as they there for her and we not!
I told him tell her we dont want her money.

Recently she said she had some kind of virus and holed up in her bed for entire month.

Hubby rings her twice a day at set times or she goes mad.
Cant go round unannounced.
she will only see 1child at a time.

she refused to answer phone so hubby travels 6miles daily check if shes ok, she kept refusing gp, nurse and ended up in hospita.

Most of her probems are mental she has some sort ocd, gets nasty when challeneged, self diagnoses illnesses, mild arthititas she refused treatment for its been very hard and worry about how she will get in future but shes family and we make sure shes well looked after.

In contrast over sumer went back home to aunts she invited out late aunts best freind round shes in her 80,s lives alone and still walks everywhere she has no family yet she never moans she just gets on wth it contract with moaning mil who whinges all time its really hard.

Im not agist I must have freindly face as lost oaps talk to me some are lovley , others tell me how to parents.Lost do volunteer work.

Theres such an extreme livings standards in the elderly group.

If you had a old peoples mumsnet I often wonder how they discuss current policies if they support all the cuts think young are lucky and workshy? discrimination works both ways seen it in action.

Beastofburden Fri 04-Oct-13 11:51:00

There are lots of very difficult people in the world and some of them are older. Don't disagree with that.

OTOH I know a retired couple who are lovely, nice little terraced house, nothing spectacular. They have one adult son living with them- and they and he see this as a big failure somehow. Both generations are ashamed of it and talk in terms of boomerang kids and how soon can he make his own life etc. There doesnt seem to be an accepted social model in which they could say, DSx is going to live with us forever, we are sharing this house and he will take it over when we are gone. But actually it is a very rational and positive way to solve some of this- not least as reducing the demand for ever more homes will help to contain house prices.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 11:52:13

Grandparents are a major source of childcare for many families, especially poor families. My parents aren't in great health, but they help out my BIL whenever he needs childcare - he lives close to them. He does bugger all for them. When I go and visit, I am the one doing the odd jobs they can't manage.

Many elderly people I know would love to live with family, rather than live alone. Loneliness is common amongst elderly people. But this rarely happens nowdays.

I think people are generally more selfish than they used to be. So while younger people are often happy to have childcare from grandparents; they will rarely live with grandparents and look after them when they can no longer manage.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 11:53:23

beast - I suspect that is because they think he should be married, maybe with kids.

ohmymimi Fri 04-Oct-13 11:54:39

Balanced discussion, my arse. Mean-spirited and blinkered, more like.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 12:00:50

The thread is full of people who are envious at their well off parents.

3asAbird Fri 04-Oct-13 12:03:42

My mums just selfish full stop but dont dwell on it dad rarly sees us but hes happy.

His siblings do lion share of care for my nan since grandad dies last year but they live nearer.

Mil said she would never want to live with us.

pre kids we let hubby,s homeless mate live with us for 6months after bad breakup.

My cousin could do with place to stay but our house just not big enough older houses least had 2 reception room as nan and her sister had best front rooms, normal front rooms, pantry as big as our bedrooms.

We told to move where theres work so many families now scattered as no jobs in town where grew up, housing costs high so its oap town mostly wealthy oaps.

I also think people have mixed memories and think that people have it easier these days forgetting what stuff they did have.

Seems odd our financial fate depends on what decade we were born.

I worry about my kids and glad they not school leavers any time soon.

my neighbours in her 80s and looks after her young grandkids and always thinks shes amazing for her age but her family are quite close knit and round there all the time.We also swop veg, I pick fruit for her as shes nice person.

The one next door to her is wealthy , moans a lot , even says she thinks we mad for renting shes ocmplete snob and her family rarly visit her. She doesnt really talk to be she loves husband and he often does random jobs for her if she asks despite her being constantly rude to me and the kids shes got worse over the years.

Lazyjaney Fri 04-Oct-13 12:13:27

The thread is full of people who are envious at their well off parents

Those born in the 40s and 50s (today's retireds) hit a one time jackpot, and tend to ignore/forget that those paying their pensions and healthcare costs today will never get that sort of benefit themselves when old.

And those people now being heavily taxed to pay for others' benefits are simultaneously watching their own kids having to pay a small fortune for education and may never afford their own house.

It's just not a sustainable position, the only reason it hasn't collapsed yet is the proportion of old people who vote is so huge.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 12:19:20

Janey - Nearly two thirds of pensioners are in poverty or on the border of it. You are talking about well off pensioners. Those who had money to buy houses when they were cheap, those who had money to buy shares and have decent pensions. That is not even the majority of pensioners.

With pensions, legally if someone has a pension plan they have paid into, the company has to pay out. A company about 10 years ago? tried to change the pension payouts. They were taken to court and lost.

So if someone has paid into a great pension plan - whether private or public sector - then yes they may have a decent pension. Yes because of rising life expectancy, pensions for young people will be more.

And you don't want to pay old people's healthcare costs!!

Your parents are obviously well off. You will inherit their wealth. People like me from poor families will simply be helping out our elderly parents as they get older.

georgettemagritte Fri 04-Oct-13 12:20:29

Nothing to do with being envious. Just pointing out the economic facts: which are that we are about to have a huge demographic bulge of pensioners, mostly baby boomers, who are expecting to receive entitlements to pensions, healthcare and social care for 30 years or more which are (a). in excess of the tax and NI they have paid in and (b). which there are not going to be enough working-age people to afford. What are we as a society meant to do? To cling on to sentimental notions of the wartime generation when the reality is that there will be lot of boomer pensioners who are asset-rich who are taking up amounts of public money that can't be afforded? (not talking about the current 80+ age group here but those who are currently 55-70-ish, who will have been in work for 40-45 years but expect that to pay for another 30-35 years of retirement? And many of whom may no have worked at all but lived in one-salary families).

There simply will not be enough young people working to even pay the pensions bill, never mind all the additional health and social care burdens.

The system only works when younger generations' standard of living and share of wealth rises compared to previous generations - because they can then afford to pay for the generations above them. This kind of hairsplitting about poor pensioners deserving their benefits is a sideshow to the fact that if younger generations are not getting better off than their parents, there simply won't be enough money to pay for their parents' entitlements.

The current generation of politicians are killing the geese that lay the golden eggs - the young and productive. Take the latest announcement about removing benefits from those under 25. Or the trebling of tuition fees. Chaining young people into long term poverty and debt slavery will only mean that in 15 years' time there will be no one to pay for it all. Today's 20-year-olds are the doctors, nurses, care home workers, social workers etc of 2030. When someone who is 65 today is hoovering up winter fuel allowance when they don't need it, in 2030 that will be the same person who may need a great deal of very expensive medical and social care from today's young people and their taxes. A young person who is already weighed down by huge housing, childcare, student loan payments?

What is the solution? To allow more and more public money, proportionately, to go to the over-60s until there is complete social breakdown?

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 12:30:56

If you are under retirement age, your retirement age has already been extended. 55 year olds are not close to retirement. They will get the state pension at age 66. And like most of us, that will probably be increased for them.

Many 65 year olds do need winter fuel allowance.

Families have always been a relatively poor demographic. Read back to Dickens time and it was the same. Because you have the cost of caring for dependants who are not bringing in a wage.

The solution is an increasing pension age, which is already being put into practice.

I have worked all my life, and I know I will probably die before reaching pension age because of a disability. I will probably live till 60 though and wish I could have a younger retirement age so that I got to enjoy some retirement.

But I also didn't have to go out to work full time at 15 years of age like my dad. I had an extended childhood in comparison to him.

evilkitten Fri 04-Oct-13 12:32:31

Grennie - your claim that two thirds of pensioners are in poverty has no factual basis - even the left-leaning Joseph Rowntree Foundation only claims 16%.

Look at the ONS Social Trends report. The over-65 group is the demographic that holds the most wealth. On its own, this shows only that there's some very wealthy pensioners. However, the report also states that pensioners are the least likely group to be in poverty.

This doesn't mean that there are no pensioners in poverty, but it does suggest that if the vast majority of our social welfare and health budget are directed to those least likely to need it, then perhaps the priorities might be a bit skewed.

Lazyjaney Fri 04-Oct-13 12:32:55

What is the solution? To allow more and more public money, proportionately, to go to the over-60s until there is complete social breakdown?

Right now, that's where the votes are, so that's what is happening.

Talkinpeace Fri 04-Oct-13 12:33:20

For hundreds of years parents strove to give their children a better life than they had.

My parents put me through private school : I cannot afford that for my children.
I left university debt free : my children will leave with tens of thousands of pounds of debt
I bought my first house at 22 for 3 times my salary without parental help : my children will never be able to do that
When I was at school the state pension was supposed to be enough to live on, but defined benefit private pensions for all were the next level up : I did not get a DB pension, my children will probably not get a pension at all.
When I was a kid there was free dental care: Now there isn't.

Our parents generation have failed to make things better for us and are setting us up to fail our children.
THat is a great shame.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 12:37:26

"The harsh reality of low income in later life

1 in 6 pensioners (1.8 million or 16% of pensioners in the UK) live in poverty, defined as 60% of median income after housing costs
Pensioners are also the biggest group of people on the brink of poverty with 1.2 million on the edge
Low income in retirement is often linked to earlier low pay, or time out of employment - for example, due to caring responsibilities, disability or unemployment
Women, those age 80 to 84, single people living alone, private tenants, and Pakistani and Bangladeshi people are at greater risk of pensioner poverty
The numbers of people living on low income fell between 1997/98 and 2004/5; since then there has been little improvement."


So overall nearly two thirds of pensioners are in poverty or on the brink of it.

georgettemagritte Fri 04-Oct-13 12:37:42

I'm also very sceptical about the claim that two thirds of pensioners are living in poverty: I suspect that this may be because "poverty" is defined as two thirds of the median income (assets disregarded), and if you use that yardstick yes pensioners' income may be at those levels but their assets as a group are much greater (remember that over-55s own the vast majority of assets in the UK). E.g. what about housing, since pensioners tend to have low or no housing costs compared to working-age people whoosh pay for (currently extremely expensive) housing out of their income as well.

I was always taught by my parents, using the norms they had grown up with, that rent or mortgage should take up a third or less of one's net income, based on one person working out of a couple. I don't know anyone my age (mid-30s) who isn't paying over 50 percent of their household net income in rent or mortgage, based on two people working, not one.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 12:37:59

And if you bought your first house at age 22, you were very well off!

georgettemagritte Fri 04-Oct-13 12:38:34

*who not whoosh!

MadeOfStarDust Fri 04-Oct-13 12:39:40

It will stop soon - our generation of overworked over-indulgers will pop off early and reset the finances...

since we 40/50 year olds are all obese alcoholics, working too many hours, in too much stress, caring for kids and parents and running out of oomph.........

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 12:39:41

Well off older people will always be the most asset rich. Because if you are part of a well off family, you start to inherit as you get older. Those in the thread who are from well off families will find this themselves.

georgettemagritte Fri 04-Oct-13 12:44:26

My parents bought their first flat aged 22 in 1974 on my day's training salary. It was less than 1.5 times his income! This was the norm amongst their friends. When he qualified they traded up to a 2-bed semi which cost just over two times his income.

House prices in every area of the SE city I live in are between 10 and 20 times the local median income (from the local council website). Most if my friends are two-income graduate couples earning well and working long hours, but still in their mid-30s cannot buy and are paying huge rents of at least half net household income. How are we, and the people younger than us who have massive student debt, going to pay all the extra tax needed to fund the current and future pensions, social and healthcare bill?

georgettemagritte Fri 04-Oct-13 12:45:29

*dad not day! Must stop typing on phone, bloody autocorrect!

Beastofburden Fri 04-Oct-13 12:47:20

I bought my first flat in 1986, in London. It cost 10 times my starting salary in 1984, but I had qualified so it was around 4 times my salary by then. I got a 100% mortgage but it was at the legendary 15%, pretty soon afterwards.

We used to be envy of people who had bought during the 1970s grin

Mrsdavidcaruso Fri 04-Oct-13 12:50:27

3 as a bird and you’re toast I have never in my life read such crap about pensioners and their passes.

First of all 3 if you were on the school run today unless you live in London you will not have seen pensioners traveling free as the passes cannot be used before 9.30

You ‘re toast if I give you my Dads phone number would you like to contact him and tell him that next year when he is going to have to give up driving and stop work that he cant have a bus pass as he will not be earning. While you are at it please tell him why nearly 70 years of working and paying tax count for nothing in your selfish eyes.

Let me tell both of you and those who agree with you a few home truths.

Where I live on the Isle of Wight our bus fares are amongst the highest in the country £10.00 for a day rover, £24 a week £84 per month, now I as a full fare payer know that other people are subsidized, thats JSA claimants who get half price travel. Children/students half price travel and of course the passes for the elderly so you would think I would have a bit of a problem with other people getting half price or free what I have to pay full price for. But what I do know is this, should my bus company Southern Vectis (part of the go-ahead group) be allowed to charge those 3 groups full price fares, my own fares would not I repeat WOULD NOT go down in price, that is because (as they admitted at a bus user group) they are NOT a public but answerable to their shareholders, so for anyone who thinks their own bus fares or their childrens bus fares will go down in price if pensioners passes are taken from them are talking out of their backsides.

And lastly 3 and toast, what did you both do today (apart from 3 school run) did you ( or have the opportunity to ) go and see friends, go to the shops, or GPs of just get out in the fresh air.

Or are you facing a lonely isolated day, not seeing anyone cut off
from human contact, because you take away a pensioners bus pass and thats what you are condemning a lot of pensioners to.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 12:51:00

The number of homeowners in the 70's, was still relatively low. It wasn't until the sale of council houses in the 80's that ownership rose.

Beastofburden Fri 04-Oct-13 12:51:13

Can any of you economists tell me if people are becoming more likely to relocate? house prices in some parts of the UK are still affordable. With remote working increasingly a possibility, are people doing this?

My parents moved from South Devon to Manchester in their 20s because that was where my Dad had found work. He didn't buy a house until I was 5, so he would have been mid-30s by then, with three kids.

Talkinpeace Fri 04-Oct-13 12:51:38

And if you bought your first house at age 22, you were very well off!
Really, you call a salary of £10,000 in 1987 well off?

HoleyGhost Fri 04-Oct-13 12:51:51

Taking care of older relatives is a much bigger burden now than it used to be - medical advances mean that the elderly infirm and demented can live for a very long time.

Most of the boomer generation have done very well in life and IME they think they deserve long luxurious retirements at the expense of young families.

In 20 years they will be less in control of the media narrative and perhaps the balance will shift.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 12:52:30

Georgette - so what was your dad earning in 1974?

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 12:54:20

Peace - Ok it was equivalent to £23,840. Not very well off, but not a bad salary at age 22.

Lazyjaney Fri 04-Oct-13 12:55:13

The Great Swindle at the moment is to define poverty as a % of gross income, but ignore assets and liabilities. A family with kids at 60% of mean income, with all it's outgoings and typically no assets, is in a totally different position to an oap with house equity and lower outgoings.

Those who bought houses in the mid 80s often got caned in the late 80s with the interest rates and price crash. The real winners in property were those who were alive and able to buy in the 60s and 70s

Beastofburden Fri 04-Oct-13 12:55:41

Talk actually that doesn't sound at all bad. I got £4,800 when I started work in 1984 but it did go up once I qualified, so by 1987 I was probably getting about £12k. The flat I bought then (1986? 1987? trying to remember exactly) was £42,500 and my Dad had a panic attack at the shocking financial responsibility I was taking on grin. He never earned more than £24k in his life.

3asAbird Fri 04-Oct-13 12:56:12

I dont really have a solution as no ones really debating this did find this from money magazine

For donkey's years, the age at which you can claim your state pension benefits has been 65 for men and 60 for women.
But huge jumps in life expectancy have seen costs shoot up for the Treasury, which is paying some pensioners for more years in retirement than they spent paying National Insurance as workers.
The previous Labour government set out plans, based on recommendations from Lord Turner, to steadily increase the state pension age to 68 for both men and women over the next four decades.
The coalition government is set to link the state pension age to life expectancy. This could see it hit 73 for today's 33 year-olds and 77 for those just finishing their A-Levels.

So 73 is age I have to work up to and maybe no state pension by then! I doubt there be any of other benefits as cant see how much longer they can get away wth it when livings standards falling for everyone else.

Students now

have to no ema-not that i always agreed with that but jobs for youngesters were easier to find when I was in 6th form.

Student no longer exempt from council tax..
same goes for older child living with parents still extra council tax to pay as its amount of people in household so in case under 25s living at home are parents expected to fund the extra council tax when they reach 18?

students now have 9k a year tuition fees to go college.

Many of older professions, teaching, nursing, accountancy all now need degrees.

fe colleges, polys going, lack of decent appreticeships make it harder to go down vocational route.

fail used to be carpenter he moaned apprecticeship for him was 5years reduced to 18months when he left.

My mum and most of her siblings and freinds went to secondry modern and most of them done really well in in vocational roles mechanics, plumbers, nursing ect.

Her older sister went grammer and if dident go teaching would go admin,secretarial or bank clerks.

My uncles just retired from post office with very generous pension he acknowledges he was right place right time.

You see it in lots of companies where terms and conditions vary for new starters to older employees.

I just fear no matter how hard some younger generation work hard and get on they wont have savings, decent pensions or home ownership to fall back on.

If they decide to have kids then its very hard to save as its expensive time I have 2 under 5s.

I dont know what to suggest to mine when they leave school.

we cant afford private school since crunch happened lots people chossing state education putting more strain on places.

we dont even have enough school places for next generation.
even from moment they born in shortstaffed maternity unit they off to rough start.

Its easy to get over sentimental about things .
But i get upset when read about starving kid who could do with free breckfast, school meal or walking miles to nearest foodbank each way

state pension provison at the moment

How is the basic State Pension rate increased each year?
The rate of basic State pension is increased from April each year by at least the level of growth in average earnings. The current Government's policy is that the basic State pension will increase each year by the highest of:

growth in average earnings
prices increases
2.5 per cent
In 2013-2014 the ba

are all other benefots going up 2.5%per year.

I dont bedgrudge elderly free healthcare we have a nhs.
But they huge part of nhs/social care bill which si why both parties were thrashing out best deal so that they did not have to sell their homes to pay for all their care, lots of familys do take personal responsability for their family members not all are selfish and use parents as free childcare.

georgettemagritte Fri 04-Oct-13 12:58:43

beast in my experience only self-employed people working in IT-related fields are able to do much remote working, and that still involves a lot of travel. Even if your job is not people-oriented (mine is, so not at all portable), most employers still want to see you in a workplace every day and "remote working" tends to mean "unpaid overtime evenings and weekends from home and being constantly available on email as well as a day in the office" :/

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 12:59:09

I think elderly people should have to sell their homes for residential care. But remember the exemption does not benefit elderly people, it benefits their children who will inherit their homes.

Talkinpeace Fri 04-Oct-13 12:59:38

beastofburden that was a graduate salary BTW .... milk round job .... and the house was a 3 bed terrace in Kent.

And yes, pensioners have lower incomes than families, but they have lower outgoings
- mortgage generally gone
- kids generally gone
- commuting gone
- lower calorific need (70 year olds need 30% less than 20 year olds to stay the same weight)

youretoastmildred Fri 04-Oct-13 13:00:02

MrsDavidCaruso, sweetheart you misread me - I am saying that those who don't earn should get help with, eg public transport, including children and young people in education.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 13:03:25

Peace - elderly people have to pay for home helps, meals on wheels, taxis and have higher heating bills. Old people feel the cold easily and it is far more dangerous for them.

And many older people are still renting and paying rent.

Beastofburden Fri 04-Oct-13 13:07:11

talk yes- still sounds good. Mine was a graduate salary too and I got a small flat in a not-wonderful bit of London once I qualified.

Newly qualifieds in my field apparently now get £40-50k (How!!!! How!!!! envy ) and there are flats in my old block on at £250k, so the ratio has moved from 4 to 5 times salary, which would be OK if they waited a couple of years post qualification.

georgette I know that has been the pattern for a while. I am just wondering if it is likely to shift. House prices are a real issue for us in recruiting people where I work.

Mrsdavidcaruso Fri 04-Oct-13 13:09:47

you're toast no you didn't you said this

Old people do not earn, so we pay for them to use public service that working people pay for

What part of that did I misread

Beastofburden Fri 04-Oct-13 13:12:11

talk on neededing less money- of course that is true. Thats why even the most generous final salary pensions schemes ( the "gold plated" ones we read about) only offer 50% of salary as a pension. As you say, no mortgage, childcare, commuting- or indeed, NI and pension deductions.

But as we all know, there is a baseline below which people are poor, without question. The poverty line for a pensioner isn't 50% of the poverty line for a younger single person.

I think saying they need 30% fewer calories is a tad mean! and in any case, they may well spend more on food as they have to buy smaller quantities instead of bulk, and may need special diets related to their age.

3asAbird Fri 04-Oct-13 13:12:25

Mrs david carrusso- nice you to ask about my day.

After school run I walked 1.2miles home in rain with 2 under 5s.

in house doing housework and smallest child having a nap whilst trying to amuse a bored 4year old who would dearly love extra day in preschool but cant afford it.

All of my childless freinds all work in the week.

Food shopping we ok for- we dont have disposable income to go shopping for other things right now.

we all well right now so no gps today but thats another least 1mile walk each way, nightmare to get an appointment and waiting room full oaps, they dont cater very easily for people in work to get appointments.

Lots of groups toddler groups are far away and cost money.

family live 50miles away, I dont drive

I face another 2hour walk this afternoon to do school run, sods law it rain and hubbys working not sure what time hes home.

Bus drivers here seem to hate kids here anyway and restrction on buggies feel sorry for people in wheelchairs.

So dare say being sahm can be as isoalting as being an oap if on low income.

I think the bus thing some sort of sensible assessemt ie

does this person drive , have a car, in good health so they have an option. Also means test it. Does janet street porter need a bus pass? Like she claims its her right.

Im all few areduced concessionary rate but should it free free for all over 60,s full stop when train and bus prices rise for everyone else?

I have freind with disabled son now hes an adult 18 its hard to get services like daycare and respite for him.

I would much rather see money targeted better.

so lets fund daycentres and companion schemes so they not isolated and cut off. Im sure some of money wasted could target pensioners and other groups in need thats point trying to make.

Beast good point flexible working but know few people who employed do it mostly self employed do.I dont think we got to point where its easy and broadband speeds in some parts rural uk are pants.

evilkitten Fri 04-Oct-13 13:13:35

Grennie - using those 'on the brink' ageuk figures gets you to 27%, although I'm not sure what 'on the brink' actually means. 27% is not two thirds. You also run into the trouble that you're not applying the same thresholds to other demographics, so it becomes hard to compare.

TheFallenNinja Fri 04-Oct-13 13:15:14

What a deliciously naive standpoint the OP takes. Essentially, take more off them and give it to me.

It's shit, we are not in it together, life isn't fair, it won't be better under any other government ( just a different group will get the shaft). Suck it up.

Talkinpeace Fri 04-Oct-13 13:16:56

I think saying they need 30% fewer calories is a tad mean!
No, medical fact.
I'm watching my weight and put my height and weight into a TDEE calculator and at age 20 I could eat 1900 calories but by age 70 I only needed 1300 calories to maintain the same weight.

youretoastmildred Fri 04-Oct-13 13:21:25

MrsDavidCaruso, the part that you misunderstand is that you seem to think I have a problem with this, per se. I don't.

It is fascinating how some have become so accustomed to demonising certain sections of society that to point out a matter of fact - "they do not earn" - is seen to be conflated with "and therefore they are scum! They deserve nothing!" Nothing could be further from what I believe. I think that economic activity is the tiniest part of the sum of a person. There are many groups that do not earn - the retired, children, those in education, carers, SAHPs, the disabled, those who work in unwaged voluntary positions, those looking for work - the list goes on. I don't despise any of those people per se. And going back to the bus pass - my logic is that of course we should facilitate old people to travel, but who else needs to go places and doesn't earn? The obvious answer to me is those in education.

"that working people pay for" - this is not remotely a dig - this is how things work - just as in a family with a WOHP and a SAHP, one person brings in money but the other has just as much right to spend it - if you can't see I mean this you must have been associating with too many hatey people

"Newly qualifieds in my field apparently now get £40-50k (How!!!! How!!!! envy ) and there are flats in my old block on at £250k, so the ratio has moved from 4 to 5 times salary,"

Can you see how silly you are being here? In real terms, the starting salary has dropped - demonstrated relative to housing. Yet you still see it as a lot, because it looks like a large number relative to the absolute number you received (presumably). can't you see that this is nonsense? There is nothing to be envious about with a number that actually has less purchasing power. I think this sort of double think is at the root of a lot of misconceptions at the moment

evilkitten Fri 04-Oct-13 13:21:29

The point about lower home ownership in 1970s equating to hardship is a bit of a red herring. The housing market has changed hugely between the 1970s and now.

Renting was a serious option then; there were rent controls, and council housing provided stable and affordable accommodation for working families. It was long term. Today, six month ASTs with very little security mean that rental is designed primarily for the landlord - nobody in their right mind would choose to rent now unless they had to.

It's another area where legislation is needed to provide stability & security to the younger generations. I've known young couples to be evicted after having children as the landlord specifies "no children, no pets, no DSS". This is not a way to start life.

3asAbird Fri 04-Oct-13 13:22:23

I dont want extra money.

But when I see cuts on families, disabled.

ow the attack on unemployed when most want to work.

now under 25s too

its seems unfair.

yes admit maybe im being naive but in the begging they talked about fairness.

nearly 4 years in as next election 2015 wondering wheres the fairness.

People will accept the cuts if they feel its fair

they not only want to clear defecit they aiming for surplus.

I think things will get harder still as inflation is not under control .

in real terms every things going up , wages are stagnating dont know many with 2/5%annual payrise!know a few payfreezes.

I wonder what the uk will be like in 10years time?

people say we dont respect the eldesrly in uk.

But theres just as much contemt for kids.

so much for being a family freindly governenment.

also sort of crazy cack handed cuts.

I so wanted the to work and feel very dissapointed.

georgettemagritte Fri 04-Oct-13 13:22:39

Special diets maybe for people in their 80s or in poor health....my parents are bouncing fit in their early 60s and their "special diet" is twice my own body weight per week in Waitrose speciality ready meals! My dad spends his winter fuel allowance on fine wines :p They moan like crazy that they are getting the worst deal of everyone even when one points out ONS statistical evidence to the contrary. Despite being fitter than most 20-somethings and going everywhere by car they will defend their free bus passes as what they are entitled to to the hilt. (It actually costs national and local government money to provide these, in grants to transport companies, even if they are never used.) Now when they go on about deserving the bus passes I point out that these are funded at the direct cost of cuts to services for disabled children and they pretend not to hear me :p

nonmifairidere Fri 04-Oct-13 13:34:04

Georgette - spending your 'inheritance' are they? Tut, tut, how dare they.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 13:35:52

A much fairer thread would be - the rich - what cuts have they suffered?

Hint: Bugger all

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 13:36:35

And Georgette - do you support homes being sold to pay for residential care as I do?

youretoastmildred Fri 04-Oct-13 13:36:49

Grennie, that would be an interesting thread. Start it!

Beastofburden Fri 04-Oct-13 13:37:49

Can you see how silly you are being here? In real terms, the starting salary has dropped - demonstrated relative to housing. Yet you still see it as a lot, because it looks like a large number relative to the absolute number you received (presumably). can't you see that this is nonsense? There is nothing to be envious about with a number that actually has less purchasing power. I think this sort of double think is at the root of a lot of misconceptions at the moment

No- just being light hearted. Starting salary hasn't dropped relative to purchasing power more generally. Housing is so weirdly priced that it has outstripped the rise in salaries. But anyone who wants to argue that salaries in the financial sector in London haven't gone up much during the past 30 years is welcome to try grin

My point was actually that those of us saying how cheap our flats were back in the day- not so much. They were very nearly as unaffordable for us then as they are now. And we were graduates with professional qualifications. My sister, a graduate but with no further qualifications, was not able to buy her own place until her 40s.

Beastofburden Fri 04-Oct-13 13:40:07

georgette understood- rich people getting universal benefits is bloody annoying.

Like Nigella Lawson getting child benefit, for instance.

If you compare the richest people in one age cohort with the poorest from another we are bound to find unfairness.

ban universal benefits <waves flag>.

Beastofburden Fri 04-Oct-13 13:43:16

talk *I think saying they need 30% fewer calories is a tad mean!
No, medical fact*. yes- I know its a medical fact, my rapidly fattening midriff is proving this for me as we speak sad

I just think its mean to cut their pocket money as they only need two carrots these days smile. They are more likely to need a gluten free diet, and cant buy bulk bargains, so I would say the budget evens out.

3asAbird Fri 04-Oct-13 13:43:56

George you so right goes to greedy first bus here.

They moan to improve services they need more users,

But they so costly and crap.

never quite get time cut offs as people at peak time commuting to work.

after that most using bus for leisure ad oaps may not have same time restrictions on travel they can be more flexible and wait until after 9.

so much money must be wasted in bus passes either through non use or more wealthy groups taking advantage of them.

On ocassion take the bus when chatting oaps can be quite sweet they cant believe how expensive fares are and tell me how much they love their bus pases but after time guess if theres some thins you dont pay for you dont notice the rises that affect everyone else its bit like analogy asking pm what cost of pint of milk is.

Im baffled why travel for school kids is no longer funded.

I had free bus pass for college

There seems to be huge debate over benefits that only those who earn count. If sahm ifs lifestyle choice, if retire early when they could thats fine.

Mrs david I would never be as unfair to say you choose where you live ie an island yet for people on jsa /under 25s ok to force them t5ell em get on their bike.

georgettemagritte Fri 04-Oct-13 13:53:40

I don't expect any inheritance! The reality is that the current generation of pensioners will end up selling their houses to pay for some of their care.

I support that in the present circumstances. But what I would really like to see instead is the following, just to start with:

- a short sharp housing crash. People think this would be disastrous for them, but for the majority of older people it would simply mean accepting a paper loss - which would be balanced out by cheaper future housing costs (eg for a care home. Private care home chains and businesses are typically highly leveraged against their property values, which massively increases their costs).
- abolishing second home council tax discounts and tax but to let heavily.
- substantially lower housing costs would mean younger generations could pay more tax long term to support state welfare provision, as well as paying more into their own pensions and spending more into the economy, starting businesses, train and retrain etc.
- abolish IHT and levy CGT at standard rates on "inheritances", encouraging older people not to stockpile assets. But because of lower housing prices inheritances would not matter in the same way because housing would be more affordable without them. As it was in the 60s and 70s when IHT was very high.
- abolish higher tuition fees. Until this year the total higher education budget was around 3.9bn.( Capital grants to transport companies were over 4bn in comparison). And the HE sector creates wealth and boosts our future competitiveness.
-means-test WFA and travel.

The above will not happen as the over-50s are the biggest voting bloc. It could save them in the long run, however, as without a radical reset of the system now, the effects will be felt in 10-15 years when the voting mass shifts to the under-50s. Seriously, a bit of short term pain now would save a coming systemic collapse of pensions, health and social care looming from 2025 onwards, but it won't happen because there is too much investment in the status quo.

Beastofburden Fri 04-Oct-13 13:56:43

georgette I think as a parent of adult kids, I wouldn't mind if my house crashed in value. I am currently saving all the spare money I earn between now and retirement, purely to help my DC with a house deposit. Of course I would rather they (I) paid less.

The problem will always be the recent buyers who will have debt on houses that are no longer worth enough. We saw what that did to hardworking families in the US.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 13:57:55

I agree with most of your suggestions. But they won't happen. Many middle class younger people are bothered about inheritance and complained vociferously at the idea of not inheriting houses because they would be used to pay for care.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Fri 04-Oct-13 13:58:57

a short sharp housing crash..............

so lots of houses for sale and no banks lending.
tell me how that would work?

Beastofburden Fri 04-Oct-13 13:59:16

If we are talking about ways to make housing more affordable, I would also suggest:

- 40 year mortgages with 1% deposits. If we are all going to retire at 75 instead of 60, why stick at 25 years?
- far more high quality state rental accommodation, to price the bad landlords out of business

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 14:02:13

The big issue is the sale of council houses. We need to build more council houses for rent. That would have a very positive impact on house prices. Because the issue at the moment is we just don't have enough housing where people want to live. It is a supply and demand situation. And increasing divorces and more single adults are also pushing up the demand for housing.

kilmuir Fri 04-Oct-13 14:03:06

OP a mile is not far to walk!
If you can't afgord your children they you should have used contraception. The likes of which was not available to the old people you demonise and neither was child benefit, wtc.........

nonmifairidere Fri 04-Oct-13 14:03:09

Georgette - yes, cheap shot, I know. Actually, totally agree with your last post and I'd reintroduce some form of rent control. Never gonna happen, though.

Badvoc Fri 04-Oct-13 14:04:53

I agree to get rid of universal benefits, although that would hit me personally as I would lose my child benefit and as a sahm (who successive govts seem to detest) that is not good.
Benefits should be means tested, and that means pensions too.
Also winter fuel allowances. I know some rich people refuse theirs, but not many! My pils who are very comfortable take theirs each year gleefully.
I would like to see more support for sahps/carers. More funding for gp surgeries which wouldn't sme the pressure of a and e units, more funding for schools, including specialist units for children with behavioural difficulties. More support for oaps and 15 hours free pre school from 2 across the uk.
Get them when they are young. Make a difference early.
It's not rocket science.
But no...keep giving tax breaks to the rich.
Fucking Tories.

Badvoc Fri 04-Oct-13 14:05:10

...and yes to rent control.

georgettemagritte Fri 04-Oct-13 14:08:09

I actually support universal benefits. They are symbolically very important. The original idea behind the cradle-to-grave welfare state was that at every point in one's life one would be either paying in or taking out of a collective social provision, eg. child benefit when one was a child, then working, then in receipt of the state pension when not working. I think universal benefits are an important glue that holds together our sense of being in it together.

People erroneously think of child benefit as a benefit for the parents - it's not; it's the child's benefit, in recognition that the child is part of the state too. It's not means tested because children don't earn.

I support a basic state pension for all - it's important.

Both WFA and travel passes are discretionary benefits, not part of the original welfare state entitlement - WFA was introduced by John Major's govt IIRC, as a sop to a situation where pensioners were genuinely a low-income cohort as a whole. That was the wartime generation.
I would retain free bus passes if children in education also got them, for example.

The real problem in the UK is that our economic system is disastrously unbalanced in generational terms and in terms of assets versus income: housing in particular. So many of these problems would not exist if only people had not taken to speculating wildly in housing during the last twenty or thirty years. Successive govt and financial sector pixies encouraged it; the whole economy was allowed to run away based on it; we had golden opportunities to use globalisation and technologisation to our benefit to create massively higher living, leisure, education and healthcare standards for all and what did we do?

We ruined it by selling the same houses to each other at more expensive prices each time, and spending the fake money - effectively borrowed from future generations' earnings - on cheap tat made overseas, holidays, etc etc.

Theodorakiss Fri 04-Oct-13 14:10:39

I bet most oaps have paid in a hell of a lot of NI and tax in their lifetimes, it is theirs to claim. They were promised that their welfare was cradle to grave. Now that is impossible because the welfare isn't used as a safety net anymore. I hope they get to keep it. Taking it would be theft.

Badvoc Fri 04-Oct-13 14:11:02

Very true georgette.

georgettemagritte Fri 04-Oct-13 14:11:03

*pixies, WTF? Was meant to be policies. Must stop now though my phone clearly likes the idea of economic pixies.... v appropriate in the cases of Alan Greenspan and Eddie George maybe. Evil pixies.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 14:11:49

I don't agree with getting rid of basic pensions. Many people, including me, pay into a private pension on the understanding there will be a state pension. If it didn't exist, there would be no point for most people paying into any private pension, because there are unlikely to save more than the means tested amount.

Talkinpeace Fri 04-Oct-13 14:12:48

There are 1 million empty homes in the UK
and over 1 million second homes in the UK
and 400,000 houses worth of land with planning permission
as it costs the owners nothing to leave their property and land empty, they do so.
- Make the council tax on an empty house five times that of an occupied house
- Make all properties owned by companies be liable for business rates (yes Mr Geldof that includes you)
- Abolish renewal of planing permission
and the housing crisis will solve itself
and only the super rich will get hit.

LaGuardia Fri 04-Oct-13 14:16:57

All the pensioners I know shop at Waitrose and travel abroad twice a year. No such thing as a poor pensioner these days.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 14:19:13

All the mums I know shop in Boden and live in big houses. No such thing as a poor mum nowdays.

youretoastmildred Fri 04-Oct-13 14:20:18

Georgette, your 14.08 post is absolutely true and heartbreaking.

In my head this pissing-opportunity-to-be-happy-up-the-wall problem is related to a sort of macho pro-extreme-work culture. Which affects everyone, although it is pleasant for a minority. (in the same way as "having a non-smoking section in a restaurant is like having a non-pissing section in a swimming pool")

Also: see what we did with North Sea Oil compared to Norway.

This is what I mean: we are, or should be, so so rich - modestly rich, by the standards of all the retirees with 2 houses and new car every 2 years, but massively rich by global standards, meaning: not having to worry about food, fuel, education, health care. We should have it all. We really fucked up by being greedy, stupid, and short-sighted; refusing to recognise the social contract. And fucked up the planet too.

It wasn't just the generation of current retirers but they are the ones that trousered the spoils and are now laughing at us

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 14:24:19

I obviously live in a different income bracket from most MNers.

3asAbird Fri 04-Oct-13 14:29:55

Kilmuir-amile for me each not far but for 2little people in rain can be tiresome.

All mine were planned could afford.
get cb like every other generation did.
no to tax credits.
made sacrafices we private rent which is pants.
we have a car but they sure are pricy to run.

Housing is key.

social housing is so limited only for those who are homeless or very high need.

Made private landlords very rich housing in hosuing benefits
my landlord this house one of 3houses he rents to boost his pension
we cant even afford the 5%deposit right now.

plus multiples of single salary wouldent go far here.

they keep building excutive 300k new builds never anything affordable.

would love to lease land then build a flat pack wooden home.

but lands so flipping expensive/

2nd home owners make me annoyed parts of cornwall like ghost towns young people not stuck around to look after eldesrly as cant afford to live there fullstop.

Always old people campaigning against new builds and in devon amused me save our gold courses!

georgettemagritte Fri 04-Oct-13 14:52:23

Thanks Mildred (and others on the thread) - this is an incredibly important debate to be having and it isn't going to go away in the future: I think those who don't recognise that there are issues here will see this coming up again and again in the next few years.

Young people who can see the writing on the wall are already leaving for other countries (if they can); or tuning out (if they can't). Without jobs and a future for them the older generations won't get far complaining - they will be dependent on young people's taxes and goodwill whether they like it or not.

It's just an extra annoyance on top for lots of us that the generation who seem unable to appreciate their good fortune compared to following generations, is often the same sixties generation who listened to music about creating a better world for the future! And instead we face a ruined planet and a ruined economy. It's desperately sad compared to what we could have done even if the sixties ideal of the welfare state had continued.

higgle Fri 04-Oct-13 15:07:52

I work with older people and would tend to agree there are many living lifestyles that younger people would struggle ever to attain. Despite this they have suffered from the cuts as the rate of interest on their savings is negligible and they tend to pay higher prices for things as they only buy small quantities and have a large proportion of people who cannot use the internet to access the best prices. They have made windfall profits from property, so I can never understand the strong resistance to inheritance tax which at least takes this money back into circulation again.

needaholidaynow Fri 04-Oct-13 15:13:04

My grandparents don't live a life of luxury. In fact their house is in a horrible state. It's full of damp all over the walls and its just crumbling.

youretoastmildred Fri 04-Oct-13 15:28:53

needaholidaynow, I am guessing that the house belongs to them, if the damp is their responsibility? Can they:

get a lodger and use the rent for repairs
sell up and buy a flat in good nick

Maybe it is a tiny one-bedroom cottage. But if they still live in a family house and their family don't live there any more, why should they expect to keep up a whole house for one couple?

VoiceofRaisin Fri 04-Oct-13 16:17:35

theodora they may FEEL they paid a lot of tax and NI but actually they didn't - that is the point. Their tax and NI went to pay a small population of retirees on modest pensions. The amount that they will in turn aim to be taking out will have to be paid by the current young and is more than they (the current retirees) ever paid in. It is like a pyramid scheme that is about to fail because this next generation is not rich or big enough to support the longer life expectancy of the retiring baby boomers.

needaholidaynow Fri 04-Oct-13 16:21:14

It's a 3 storey house. My mum and uncle obviously moved out a long time ago.

I really doubt they would have a lodger live with them. I wish there was more I could do to help them. I think part of their problem is that they are bad for hoarding as well, which adds to their housing issues. I just want to help blitz their house from top to bottom.

It'd be lovely if they sold up and bought a one bedroom flat/bungalow. I wish they would.

youretoastmildred Fri 04-Oct-13 16:36:43

Oh dear, needaholidaynow, you sound so wistful. Didn't mean to touch a sore point.

needaholidaynow Fri 04-Oct-13 17:02:31

No no honestly it's fine smile I wouldn't have brought my grandparents up if I didn't want to talk about them.

3asAbird Fri 04-Oct-13 17:46:28

Sorry need a holiday grandparents are strugging.

My grandparents on dads side always have struggled.

One thing that baffles me and we touched upon it earlier

is the way we live in uk.

Im not sure intergenerational living would make a come back as houses tiny , expensive here and lost fanilies live different places as lots do go where the jobs are.

But in usa they have really nice retirement villages.

I see mil rattle round in house thats too big.
she moans about the stairs.
The gardens too much for her.
Then to heat such a big house.
her reluctance to move she would have put fil in a home rather than move.

Im not worried about the money.

But im sure she be happier ina bugalow close to shops and ammenities like libary which she would use.

I think the way elderly people live in uk can be isolating.

So to protect oaps in social housing when there,s so few housing availaible seems odd.

I know theres memories but when you die cant take it with you.

I don't understand why they dont sell up to make their final years more comfortable and easier.

If we had really good quality retirement villages, or sheltered housing with things like communal lounge would they not be happier? bit like uni halls for elderly their own personal living space with some share communal areas.

Why does it have to be stay in huge house or old peoples home.

I have friend looking on right move for house with space for granny annex for her elderly mother but shes having heck of job finding one.

I dont think im being yanbu n few years time when things are harder than they are now.

people will be asking whos a vunerable group and why are all oaps vunerable no matter what their income and other groups like kids and disabled are not protected

I hope we dont see repeat of riots but can see why people get fed up some weeks I think wish I could emigrate but we stay where we are as mil needs us close.

The goverenment either believe in universil benefits or they dont.
They dont with child benefit.

Often wonder if oaps in states have had it as favourable as they have to pay for healthcare over there and don't have welfare state like we have here.

Wonder how many years it will take before its on the political agenda or if the torys ageist policy cost them the next election as media said ths policy of penalising job seekers and no benefits under 25s wll please the elderly tory voters within the party!Why the heck would another groups suffering please then?

I dont want elderly to suffer but do want some fairness.

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