Picture: Better together leaflet which argued that staying in the union would in fact protect our pensions.
A horrifying story jumps out of the Sunday papers, ‘Tories Plan to Raise the State Pension Age to 75 Over the Next 16 Years.’This stems from a report by the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) which proposes raising the pension age to 70 by 2028, and further raising it to 75 by 2035. That would mean life-changing and likely negative implications for us all only 16 years from now. CSJ is indeed a strange name for a think tank which, aims to tackle poverty and uphold social justice. We might be quick to dismiss this report considering it’s a think tank that can propose ideas that might not be acted on however, The CSJ is a highly influential think tank that PM Boris consults with.
It has Conservative Party influences where among its founders is Iain Duncan Smith, a Conservative Party politician and former leader of the party who founded the think tank in 2004 alongside Tim Montgomerie and Philippa Stroud. CSJ designed the current Universal Credit System, another story of social injustice that can be seen to have perpetuated the poverty and inequality cycle.
This current pension proposal from the think tank is a massive attack on younger people in society and has been justified by the head, Andy Cook where he released a statement claiming “Working longer potentially improves health and wellbeing – we don’t do enough to help older people stay in work. The state pension doesnt reflect healthy working life expectancy” Overall, the report suggests a mid-life MOT for older staff and special training!
The DWP have failed to provide an adequate response about these plans and have released a vague statement where a spokeswoman said “THE STATE PENSION AGE IS KEPT UNDER REVIEW.”
When we consider the impact, it will have on Scotland, the analysis paints a devastatingly dark and unjust picture with no potential benefits in sight. We need to consider that the average life expectancy in Scotland for males for example, is currently 77.1. Therefore, staying in the union increases your chances of working until you drop. Further, it is measuring your worth in taxes and so we must ask, what kind of society is this? Looking at activists within AIM, we are saying the vast majority could only experience roughly two years of retirement before death? It also means a 75 year wait for one of the LOWEST STATE PENSIONS IN EUROPE. A darker reality can be seen here within Aberdeen where 12 areas have a life expectancy of 75 or below namely; Ashgrove, City Centre West, Garthdee, Heathryfold & Middlefield, Kincorth, Mastrick, Midstoicket, Northfield, Seaton, Sheddocksley, Stockethill, Torry East and West or Woodside. Therefore, retirement will a pipe dream. Further, the life expectancy of many people in manual jobs can decline due to efforts to continue working long after their health has given up.
The idea behind this change is to save money, however, we must put questions to this logic. Will it not mean a massive increase in health spending? I think the answer to this from the think tank would be no, as we won’t have a public health service. So, no rise in costs. However, the fact that we might have no public health service means many won’t be able to afford the basic healthcare that would help see them through to the age of retirement. Further, many pensioners do a great job for society, carrying out unpaid childcare for their family, so will this stop pensioners and have an impact on the many businesses the family they are helping is a part of?
BUT THE BIGGEST QUESTION MUST BE, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR OUR SOCIETY AND WHAT KIND OF SOCIETY WE ASPIRE TO.
I really don’t think small c Conservatives- many who are enjoying their retirement- will think this is fair, or a society which they want to see. Independence is now not the big risk; the big risk is staying in the Union. The risk is to our pensions, the health service, high street banks and the local industry to name a few.
Therefore, let’s put the powers in our hands and let’s give our people a society where pensions are a right and not a lottery. Where free quality health care is enshrined in law and where we protect the high street bank. Let’s build a society that puts its people at its core, which commits to rebuilding the social charter. A society that treats old people with respect and rewards them for their years of paying into the social charter. Not a society that’s forcing people to work until they drop and where the Government sees you as a burden.
We are seeing the things which made Britain great be attacked and totally destroyed. The Union that we voted to remain does not exist anymore. We are now at the stage where the only way we can protect the things which made things great, is with INDEPENDENCE.
The SNP government have confirmed that the pension age in an independent Scotland won’t be raised to 75. Therefore, supporting a pro-indy and pro pensions justice party can help us avoid this devastating proposal.
Independence is not just a nice idea, it’s not a necessity which we must take
It’s time for Scotland’s powers to be in Scotland’s hands
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