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.



        In spite of the UK being one of the richest nations in the world there are some very shocking figures coming to light. The latest figures indicate that there are 2 million of its citizens suffering malnutrition. Almost half of all patients in care or residential homes and one third of those attending out-patient clinics and GP surgeries are not getting enough to eat. Malnutrition affects up to 14% of the elderly living at home. It seems that malnutrition is not restricted to the Third World, in the UK it is on the increase, but hidden by the State’s spin and act with smoke and mirrors, also its obsession with obesity, ( we are all getting too much.)

         In Scotland, that poorer part of Britain, during the 2003/04 winter there were 2,900 cold related deaths among the elderly, an increase of 400 on the previous year, the worst figures in Europe. People who were just too poor to heat themselves. All this happening and Scottish and Southern Energy, whose profits jumped 11% to £267.9 million, in line with other energy companies, increased their prices as winter approached.

           Almost half of all Scottish pensioners are living in poverty. Debt councillors have stated that the number of pensioners facing debt problems has doubled in the last ten years. During the same period the council tax has shot up 81% while pensions have risen by only 40%. In Scotland 300,000 households are trying to get by on an income of less than £10,000 a year, 34,000 (1.6% of the adult working population) are still being paid below the minimum rate. In that citadel of consumerism, Glasgow, the life expectancy of the average male is 69.1 years, the only city in the UK where it is below 70. Add to that the fact that 41% of all households in Glasgow are living in poverty.

           If this is not an indictment of the system and those who manage it, then what is. Surely if we took control of our own lives, common-sense and compassion would drive us to devise a system of social justice and eliminate these gross injustices that are the product of a system that is driven by profit and greed

ann arky’s home.