National Pensioners Convention. Photo: Paul Mattsson
National Pensioners Convention. Photo: Paul Mattsson

Clare Wilkins, secretary of East Midlands National Pensioners’ Convention (personal capacity)

The state pension age is set to rise to 68 in 2044 – a decision made by the last Labour government. The Tories had planned to bring this rise forward to 2037-39. But now it looks like they won’t.

The Tories are concerned about alienating older voters, with a general election looming. The decision not to raise the pension age now shows that the government is under pressure from strike action, rallies and protests, plus its own weakness and divisions.

Events in France are having an effect here as well. Strikes and protests started in opposition to the Macron-led government raising the pension age from 62 to 64.

The movement in France has continued to grow. On the protests, many call for Macron to go.

The state pension is not enough to live on. Workers pay National Insurance towards it all their working lives. We need real living pensions, not tax breaks for the rich.

Zero-hour contracts and precarious work do not provide workers with employee pension schemes. The pressure the Tories and Keir Starmer’s Labour are under must be kept and stepped up, to ensure the increase in state pension age is stopped for good, and reduced to 55.

After steadily rising for 150 years, life expectancy in Britain is falling, particularly among the working class and the poor, even before the pandemic. Reducing life expectancy is another stark indication that capitalism is incapable of providing a liveable, let alone a decent, standard of life for working-class people.

Only a socialist transformation of society, taking the wealth off the super-rich, can ensure a decent life, retirement and old age.