In a recently published poll, it appears that far more pensioners trust Jeremy Corbyn than they do Theresa May to look after their interests.
This cannot be all that surprising, given that the Tory manifesto planned to end the winter fuel allowance, scrap the ‘triple lock’ (whereby pensioners’ incomes are due to rise by at least 2.5% per annum), plus her disastrous plans for social care cuts.
Even post-election, the poll found that 44% of pensioners trusted the Labour party while only 24% had the same trust in the Conservatives.
The results were taken after the Prime Minister’s dramatic U-turn on inheritance tax reforms, which would have dramatically affected those needing care and had assets totalling over £100,000.
Many would say that this was the defining moment in Theresa May’s fall from grace, though she did indeed win the election albeit with a vastly reduced majority.
To many, however, Mrs May’s policies were realistic given the current financial predicament that the country finds itself in, while Mr Corbyn’s campaign was directed at the popular vote, regardless of whether or not his pledges could be properly funded.
After all, if you don’t think you stand a chance of winning an election, you can say whatever you want and never have to pay for it.
Recent figures have shown that pensioners’ incomes – which have been growing at a rate of 2.5% per annum – have been rising not only more than the rate of inflation, but by far more than the UK workforce on average.
Indeed, our public sector employees, such as our beloved nurses, have had their wages capped at 1%; so in real terms, with rising inflation, their standard of living has been falling.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said in a report last year that far from being at the bottom of the income scale, pensioners’ standard of living and their amount of disposable income was far greater than many working families.
Is it right that many, but by no means all, pensioners should have their living standards guaranteed to improve while the living standards of young working families are falling behind?*
TWO PENSIONERS WITH DIFFERENT VIEWS
Marcus Millbrook, 71, of the Eastham Rotary Society and a pensioners’ rights campaigner had this to say:
“I don’t think I’m alone in saying that I’m struggling a bit with this triple lock scheme. I know I’m talking only for myself, but I’m not so sure it’s right. I, for one, own my home and want for nothing to be honest.”
“I obviously enjoy the benefits of having my pension go up every year, but I don’t really need it.”
“My niece is a young nurse and works all the hours God sends. She and her fiancée, who is a mental health worker, would love to buy their own home, but they can’t even consider it at the moment. Their wages are disgustingly low, and the wage rises they get are an insult.”
“I know I don’t speak for all old folk, but I for one would like to see our pensions just go up by no more than the national average. Let the money go to those less fortunate and give the youngsters a chance.”
Not all pensioners are quite as altruistic as Mr Millbrook, however.
Fellow Rotarian Joyce McIntyre said:
“It’s true that none of us want to see the younger generations flounder, but we’ve worked hard all our lives and paid into the system, so it’s only fair that we should reap the benefits in our old age. After all, that’s what we worked for, isn’t it?”
Only time will tell what happens in the future, but as it looks now, the triple lock is set to stay, for the foreseeable future in any case.
*The Resolution Foundation published research recently that suggested that pensioner households were, on average, better off than many working households after housing costs were taken into account.