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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 October 2010

Government bludgeons workers' pensions

THE POLICIES announced by the Con-Dem government amount to a massive attack on the pensions of all workers.

Rob Williams, PCS union, national executive

In the name of 'equality' the New Labour government intended to equalise the state pension age for women from 60 to 65 by 2020. The Con-Dems have intensified this attack on women by announcing that this will be brought forward to 2018 and the state pension age for all will now rise to 66 by 2020.

New Labour also planned to raise the pension age to 67 by 2036 and 68 by 2046. The Con-Dems have said they intend to bring these dates forward but have dishonestly not yet said how soon they intend to hike the pension age up further.

Increasing the pension age, as well as being a particular attack on women, is an attack on all working-class people. While the rich lead comfortable lives and retire early on their fortunes, ordinary people work harder, in worse conditions, for less. As a result the average life expectancy of men in Glasgow, for example, is a shocking 13 years less than in affluent Kensington and Chelsea (71.1 years compared to 84.4 years). Many more working people will not now live to collect their pension.

Osborne also announced that he would raise an additional 1.8 billion by increasing public sector workers' pension contributions but avoided saying what this would really mean. In fact it would represent a 3% increase in contributions across the board at a time when pay is frozen.

This is on top of the change to the method of calculation of index linking these pensions, already announced, from the Retail Price Index (RPI) to the Consumer Price Index (CPI). CPI is much lower because it does not take into account housing costs and the Hutton report says this change reduces the value of public sector pensions by 15%. So workers will pay 3% more for 15% less.

The RPI to CPI change is also being imposed on private sector workers in occupational pension schemes, to the delight of private sector bosses. This shows the need for private and public sector workers to unite to fight these changes.

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In The Socialist 27 October 2010:


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