While the government and big business go on about the “pension crisis” they pay scant attention to the poverty at the other end, the working age population. For one of the richest nations on the planet to proclaim to have a “pension crisis” while pouring billions of pounds into armaments and the illegal invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan is criminal hypocrisy. There answer to the “pension crisis” is for us to pay more for our pensions and work longer before we can draw a smaller pension.
Looking at Scotland we find that almost one fifth of the population, 19%, are living in poverty on less than 60% of the national average income.
The 60% of national average income poverty threshold works out at; £180 a week for a 2 adult household, £100 a week for a single adult household, £260 a week for a 2 adults living with 2 children, £180 a week for 1 adult living with 2 children. Then there is the fact that 30% of workers, more than half a million, are paid less than £6:50 an hour.
If you approach these people and tell them that they are not paying enough towards their pension you may not like the answer you receive. Also they may not take too kindly being told that as well as having to pay more for their pension, they will be obliged to work until they are 68 before receiving this pension, bearing in mind that the average life expectancy of a male in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, is 69. Not much of a return for working longer and paying more. Of course in the better off areas like East Dunbartonshire the life expectancy jumps to 77. Who gains most by the ordinary worker paying more to the pension fund?
This is the situation on the ground among the people, but the rarefied atmosphere inhabited by MPs excludes them from seeing this reality. Their £61,000+ salary, excellent pension and expenses that are higher than most people earn, cocoons them from the harsh environment of actually working for a living.
When has it ever been other than this under capitalism. Not until we organise ourselves at community level and work in federation with other communities, bringing an end to the state/corporate greed machine and consigning capitalism to the dust bin of history will we see real change for the better.
If we want a society free from poverty and age with dignity, then we have to create it ourselves, it won’t be handed to us by a system of winner takes all and to hell with the hindmost.