- Tuesday, 10 April 2012
Once again a Chancellor has taken action against pensioners. Mr Osborne is said "To act like a Tory and be on the side of millionaires" - no surprises there. But surely the hoo-ha generated by the measures is a little over-done. The country is in a financial mess and many people are facing hard times. We are all part of society and pensioners can't expect to be immune.
Various politicians over the years, have not been shy about targeting pensioners.
Margaret Thatcher abolished the link with earnings. Gordon Brown awarded pensioners a munificent 75p at the time when the economy was said to be booming.
He also reduced tax relief on savings by half and mounted huge raids on personal pension funds. The term "pensioner" covers a broad church. Some have generous occupational pensions and other sources of income, and are comparatively well off.
Most are on very modest incomes and have to be careful. The poorest pensioners are those just above the benefits threshold and have seen their savings decimated.
However, it is a fact that people are living longer and tax allowances introduced by Winston Churchill, when to live to 70 yrs was the exception rather than the rule, are in need of revision. Otherwise a decreasing workforce would have to strive to support an increasing number of pensioners.
It would be extremely sad if the generations were set against each other. There is no antidote to growing older. If the present Coalition are true to their stated aims, they should be given the benefit of the doubt.
However, it was a mistake to try to persuade Granny that a hike in her taxes was a "simplification". Granny has lived though worse times than these and has seen politicians come and go.
In fact, "she ain't so simple".
Neath Abbey by email
Grannytax? - 23 March 2012
Pensioners pay in Britain's budget - 04 May 2012
Joan Bakewell's call to action on 'Granny Tax' - 17 April 2012