Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 18 May 2006

What we think

Pensions 'crisis' - working class will pay the price

TONY BLAIR, we were told last week, wants to see major reform of Britain's decrepit pensions' system as his 'legacy'. Given the state of some of his previously desired 'legacies' - Iraq, the NHS, education, reform of public services to name a few - then the majority of people preparing to claim their pension from 2015 onwards will fear the worst.

Last week's news that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown had come to a 'deal' on pensions - sounding like an agreement between two warring countries (not far from the truth) - will provoke indignation amongst millions.

Here are two men who will have a guaranteed pension pot of millions deciding how best to dole out in future the miniscule state spending allocated to pensions. Britain spends far less on pension provision than other EU countries.

This was not a debate about how to use the wealth of obscene profits of the big multinationals like Tesco and BP to improve the lot of the vast majority of pensioners in Britain living below the official poverty line. Nearly three million pensioners now claim pension credit.

Instead it was a discussion on how best to avoid a future social revolt against the increasing use of means testing for pensioners, something increasingly encroaching on the middle-class voters Labour believes it wins elections through.

The Blair and Brown argument about the implementation of the Turner Report on pensions was about how to save a future Brown government money and was a dispute over relatively small sums of money. There is no plan to increase the real amount of Gross Domestic Product spent on pensions over the decades ahead.

It means that the real pensions crisis that already exists for millions of working-class pensioners will not be addressed.

At present, this crisis means four out of ten pensioners live on less than 10,000 a year. More than 1.6 million pensioners have returned to work to supplement their meagre pensions. Millions of pensioners cut back on the essentials of heating and electricity just to live. A report in November 2005 revealed that over two million women are not entitled to a state pension nor do they have minimum entitlements.

Union response

THE BLAIR/Brown 'consensus' over implementing the Turner report has produced agreement that it will be the working class who pay the cost of pension reform.

To pay for claimed relatively minor 'improvements', working-class people will have to work up to three years longer (possibly more); see the restoration of the state pension's link to earnings occur five years later than Turner suggests and the increase from 2020 of the retirement age for women to 65.

The tax breaks and state subsidies that go to those high earners with gold-plated pension plans are likely to continue. And the government seems set to give subsidies to employers who say they cannot afford the pension contributions they are supposed to make under Turner's proposed scheme.

The TUC and some of its affiliated unions have initially welcomed the Turner report, whilst making minor criticisms about the increase in retirement age. However, there are signs from a number of unions that they could correctly reject the Turner Report's recommendations.

The GMB has announced it will oppose an increase in the state retirement age and at the CWU conference this coming week a number of motions rejecting the Turner Report are on the agenda.

At the same time the scheme negotiations for new entrants in the public sector are coming to a conclusion. But, the Tory Party has promised to rip up these agreements if elected at the next general election. This is a warning to all workers that attacks on their pensions - state and occupational - will be ever present under Labour or Tory governments.

Last year's united stand forced the government to back down in raising the retirement age for millions of public-sector workers.

That unity in action needs to be developed into a struggle on pensions generally, including the TUC calling a national demonstration opposing the raising of the state retirement age, and building a mass movement that solves the 'pension crisis' to the lasting benefit of the millions of working-class people now facing a poverty-stricken old age.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

In The Socialist 18 May 2006:

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Blair's market madness wrecking the NHS

Save jobs and services

Global Warming

Environment: not safe in their hands

Campaign for a New Workers Party

Join the Campaign for a New Workers' Party

International socialist news and analysis

The Venezuelan president's 'vision of socialism'

Building on our election successes

Solidarity with Venezuelan workers

Female factory workers in Russia start hunger strike

Ailing German capitalism slashes workers' wages and conditions

Germany: WASG rebels suspended

Massive European Social Forum rally in Athens

Socialist Students

How students and staff saved Chemistry at Sussex


Pensions 'crisis' - working class will pay the price

Rail unions battle over pensions

Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

Postal workers prepare for action

Privatisation fails workers and customers

Fighting strategy needed to save jobs

Northumbria lecturers forced to strike

Lecturers continue the fight for decent pay

A matter of life and death


Home   |   The Socialist 18 May 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleI'm now a 'manager' and I can barely manage!

triangleFighting sexism: Positive discrimination - yea or neigh?

triangleRoyal Mail forced back under threat of action

triangleNHS - build the fightback

triangleNHS we're ready to fight

Working class:

triangleDarkest Hour: Not the usual flattery of brutal Tory Churchill

triangleWidening wealth gap, increase in poverty...make the fat cats pay

triangle2018: more upheavals loom

triangleA world in crisis, ripe for revolution


triangleUni strike: coordinate public sector fightback

triangleUniversity workers' walkout for decent pensions

triangleLecturers vote for strikes against pension cuts


triangleUCU members balloting for action on pension cuts

triangleThe Socialist inbox


trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle


triangleYork Socialist Party: Britain in 2018

News and socialist analysis

News and socialist analysis


Tamil Solidarity

Tamil youth march for justice


Foreign Aid

Oxfam scandal: we need democratic aid and working class solidarity



Building support for Corbyn's anti-cuts policies in the local elections



What we saw: Tory-Blairite EU love-in



Rent doubles in a decade: cap rents, build council homes!


Public ownership

McDonnell says Labour would put services 'irreversibly' in workers' hands



We can win the fight for the NHS



NHS - build the fightback



Corbyn's left must seize the advantage in Labour's civil war



Haringey: now's our chance for a no-cuts council



90 feared dead after migrant boat capsizes



Capita in crisis: bring all outsourcers back in-house



Trump v NHS



NHS: use the 3 February protests as a launch pad for a mass movement



Capitalists fear for their system at Davos

triangleMore News and socialist analysis articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

February 2018

January 2018