06 January 2011

More on the state's infidelity

I wrote previously about what the government has now announced it will not pay to Christine and Fabian by delaying the age for receiving pensions, although they are both already fully paid up (or very nearly so) after decades of hard work in making qualifying contributions out of a low and often non-existent income without ever getting into debt. Only of very recent years has the threat arisen of changing the pensionable age from that which was known and expected throughout those decades.

Of course, old-fashioned private pension schemes could not get away with breaking their contracts in this way. Perhaps modern ones can if the government legislates that they must. The government itself, of course, can claim that it cannot afford not to without damaging its provisions to the real needs of foreign aid, the medical and educational oppressions, and social interference of every kind. It would not do at all if someone were rewarded for conscientiousness in making voluntary contributions by getting a pension of greater value than the benefits which could be claimed by the unforethoughtful. You might call that elitism.

Recently a new pension scheme was proposed which would not depend at all on contributions made, but only on some years of residence in the country. Those who had made contributions under the old scheme would receive their pensions under the old system, which would be less.

With a bit of delayed reaction time, it started to be suggested that it might not be fair for those who had paid contributions to get less than those who had not, and I think it has now been reluctantly agreed that those who had paid into the old system would get their pensions upgraded to the level of the new system.