Too Old To Live, Too Young To Die

This week I decided to check my pension forecast with the department for work and pensions just to see what my lifetime of paying national insurance contributions might add up to come the glorious day of my retirement. As I write, I will be entitled to the full state pension having paid into the kitty for the best part of forty years. Wow, I thought, that’s got to be worth a bob or two. A single person can get a maximum of £97.65 a week basic State Pension: about £390 a month. Is that it? Of course, there are varying permutations, including married and civil partnership arrangements, but, is that it? Surely I’m wrong: after all, math’s was never my strong point, and I am aware that many folk have made additional pension provisions for themselves: but still, surely I’m wrong. Please tell me that we don’t expect anyone to live in modern Britain on £390 a month! OK, let’s say, for one horrific moment that I’m right. As an example let’s look at a single man who works for fifty odd years on an income that just about covers his monthly bills: essentials like rent, tax, national insurance (the pension bit), fuel, food, water, clothing, council tax and anything else one cares to mention. This is a law abiding normal man. There is nothing odd or strange about him. However, because of his average income he’s never been able to afford to pay for an additional private pension so; whatever the state chooses to pay him on retirement will have to do. This brings me right back to the figure of £390 per month. I would imagine that his rent and food would say goodbye to that pathetic sum, and remember, a. huge proportion of retirees don’t even get that. For many different reasons, around 70 per cent of women and 15 per cent of men don’t qualify for the full state pension because they haven’t paid enough National Insurance. So, in my humble opinion something radical needs to be done. Something which would cause minimal financial damage to the system and at the same time gives pensioners more stability and peace of mind. Let’s redirect some cash to our pensioners. H.M Revenue and Customs tell me that there are two separate amounts of child allowance being paid in the UK today, with a higher amount for your eldest (or only) child. You get £81.20 per month for your eldest child and £53.60 a month for each of your other children. Now, if we decided on an amount of household earnings that would more than cater for that family’s needs, say £25,000 per anum, and terminated all such allowance payments for all households who’s income exceeds that amount, well, even I didn’t need to qualify as a rocket scientist to see that we would bank an absolute fortune. Does Paul McCartney’s daughter really qualify for child allowance? Yes! Should her dad genuinely qualify for the state pension? You decide.

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