30 March 2011

State pension: 65% below the poverty line

From time to time someone complains that the state pension, together with the means-tested part, is becoming less and less adequate to cover the most obvious, basic costs of keeping physically alive.

A pension of £10,000 a year will barely cover the basics such as food, fuel and utility bills. It is below the minimum income standard set by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, which estimates somebody needs at least £14,400 a year to escape poverty....The full basic state pension is £97.65 a week [i.e. £5078 per annum]. (Daily Mail, 30 March 2011.)

The fact that a means-tested supplement to the pension is available will never be any good to me, or to anyone who is here now, because we would not apply for a means-tested benefit even if we became eligible for it. One simply would never have anything to do with what could only be got by exposing oneself to scrutiny and ‘assessment’.

Throughout the four decades when I paid in voluntary contributions for myself, and encouraged everyone here to do the same, I did so because the eventual pension would be ‘as of right’ and not to any extent means-tested, even if what was paid out ‘as of right’ was at the whim of the government.

I see also from today's Mail that pensioners with savings who go into ‘care homes’ will find themselves paying more, to subsidise those who do not have to pay fees because they do not have savings. That is better, at any rate, than making all pensioners, whether they are in ‘care homes’ or not, pay a tax to the government to subsidise those who go into these ‘homes’, as was at one time suggested.

Making people pay for living in these prison-homes is all right if that is really what they choose for themselves, i.e. provided they cannot be forced to go into a state (or private) death camp against their will, but can be left alone to starve to death at home if they prefer. Unfortunately, I believe this is not the case, and pensioners can easily be ‘sectioned’, or the current equivalent thereof, by a couple of authorised medical sadists (doctors). Even if not legally coerced in this way, I doubt whether many in ‘care homes’ could be said to have chosen what they are being forced to undergo.