Letter: ‘Intergenerational Fairness’ a false premise says Solent WASPI

The National Pensioners’ Convention says “there is considerable evidence that the inequality inside generations is greater than that between generations” and Solent WASPI say it should not be a question of old versus young.

young persona and old person walking arm in arm

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This letter from Shelagh Simmons, Coordinator of the Solent WASPI Supporters’ Group, Southampton, Portsmouth, Winchester, South Hampshire & the Isle of Wight. Ed

Authors of a recent report from the House of Lords Select Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision claim it is more nuanced than has been presented.  But while the mainstream media headline grabbing ‘end pensioner benefits to help the young’ is, of course, meant to be provocative, that is indeed its general thrust.  

Not a question of old versus young
Following publication of the Select Committee’s report, a national newspaper poll asked readers to say which pensioner ‘benefit’ they would, or would not, give up to help the younger generation.  We wholly reject this question because it is based on a false premise. 

In a country as wealthy as the UK, where there is more than enough to go round, it is not a question of ‘either/or’, old v young. 

It is a question of rich and poor.  There are far too many poor people in ALL age groups and that is where the focus should be.  It should not be on pitting one generation against another. 

Abrahams: Significant numbers of very poor older people missing out
As Charity Director for Age UK, Caroline Abrahams, points out:

“Young people may need more help, but we disagree that this should be at the expense of the older generation. 

“Means-testing, for example, results in significant numbers of very poor older people missing out …… in practice, many at both ends of the age spectrum need our society’s support and an advanced economy like the UK is well placed to provide it.”

1 in 6 pensioners totally reliant on State Pension
According to the Office for National Statistics, one in six pensioners are totally reliant on the State Pension – the highest number for twenty years.  Single pensioners are the worst off.  And spare a thought for thousands of Islanders – the 1950s born ‘WASPI’ women, who expected to receive their State Pension at 60, only to have it delayed for up to 6 years with little, or no, notice. 

They have to survive in the limbo between 60 and their new state pension age, many with no private financial provision after a lifetime of inequality. 

Nothing for the future
Even those who have managed to save a little for retirement are having to live on that money now, leaving nothing for the future. 

And on 15th May, new Pension Credit rules come into force that will hit new claimants in the poorest mixed-age couples.

Inequality inside generations is greater than between
The National Pensioners’ Convention regrets the “strong focus on the need to redistribute both public spending and personal wealth from one generation to another” when “there is considerable evidence that the inequality inside generations is greater than that between generations”.  

Image: Jana Sabeth Schultz under CC BY 2.0

Monday, 29th April, 2019 10:06am


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7 Comments on "Letter: ‘Intergenerational Fairness’ a false premise says Solent WASPI"

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Well said Shelagh!

There will soon be a further nasty shock for some pensioners who are married couples, where one of the pensioners is below the new pensionable age as they can now be forced to claim Universal Credit rather the current pension credits. This change is effective from May 15th, it could leave some couples up to £500 a month worse off. My understanding is that it will only… Read more »
Mark L Francis

The reason politicians implement policies agInst the young, such as paying them less benefit for being under 25 is because they dont vote and older people do. I notice this is House of Lords report, who nobody voted for anyway. Its down to millenials to get out and vote. Statitistics show they would vote overwhelmingly Labour and Remain.

Steve Goodman

And Green.

It is indeed a valid point that the inequality inside generations is a significant issue. However, there is a complete disconnect between the sentiment of this letter (help the poor in all age groups), and the aims of the WASPI campaign, which is to achieve a bridging pension/compensation for ALL women born in the 1950s, regardless of means. If WASPI were thinking of poor people in all… Read more »

There’s no disconnect at all between pointing out the facts on intergenerational fairness and the campaign. The maladministration action is a completely separate issue. You seem to advocate means-tested justice. Or maybe that’s just for 1950s born women.

The state pension should be the same for everybody. The pension age should have been equalised by allowing men to get it at age 60, not making women wait an extra six years. Means-testing just puts off many eligible people from claiming in the first place. Much fairer, simpler, cheaper to administer, and more effective, is to make things fairer through taxation: old people with lots of… Read more »