AT THE beginning of this year, we reported that the Institute of Directors – IoD – wanted to raise the state pension age to 70.
At the time Solidarity National Executive member Dave Durant attacked the IoD idea. He said that the IoD just wanted people “to work until they drop.”
Mr. Durant also noted: “When ordinary workers retire many have to rely on their state pension. This is becoming more and more inadequate. They – and their families – are increasingly have to pay for basic social services. It’s often said that the main dilemma for pensioners is to heat or eat".
He also thought it ironic that anyone should want to raise the state pension age when youth unemployment is spiraling out of control. (In November of last year, a record number of young people were without a job. Nearly one in five 16 to 24-year-olds were claiming Jobseeker's Allowance. What the rate is now is anyone’s guess).
Indeed, the Solidarity man called for the lowering of the state pension age:-
“Instead of forcing people to work on, maybe we should be looking at bringing the retirement age down even further. How many jobs would this free up for our youngsters?"
“We need to replace this crazy situation where we have millions of youngsters on the scrapheap - while others are being told that they need to work until they drop! Why not let workers retire earlier – and pay them an adequate pension – so that we can combat this chronic youth unemployment?”
Mr. Durant has returned to this theme after Con-Dem ministers Ian Duncan Smith (Conservative work and pensions secretary) and Steve Webb (Lib Dem pensions minister) announced that they were going to raise the age of retirement.
In a move designed to "reinvigorate the pensions landscape," state pension age for men is now due to rise from 65 to 66 from 2016, and to 68 by 2046. Women will move to a state pension age of 66 a few years after men.
Mr. Durant rubbished the Con-Dem claim that because people are living longer and healthier lives, the last thing the government wants “is to lose their talent and enthusiasm from the workplace due to an arbitrary age limit."
He noted that this view was ok for the Con-Dem millionaires, but the vast majority of ordinary working people would oppose this.
“I notice that of the 29 Ministers entitled to attend Cabinet meetings, 23 have assets and investments estimated to be worth more than £1million. For instance, Ian Duncan Smith lives in a house worth £1 million. I’m not sure if Steve Webb is in quite the same league, but I’m sure he’s not short of a bob or two.
I think it’s absolutely outrageous that these millionaires can just raise the pension age at a whim.
Luckily, it’s not to 70, like the Institute of Directors wanted. But 66 is bad enough. To force someone who has really grafted all their lives – say on a building site, a farm or factory - to work on and on and on is completely out of order.
We should be looking at ways in which we can reduce the age of retirement – and not be forcing people to work on until they drop”.