Work until you die

A report by the Centre for Social Justice has proposed raising the pension age to 70 by 2028 and 75 by 2035: Tory’s plan to raise the state pension age to 75 over the next 16 years. It’s claimed this is necessary in order to deal with rising pension costs. Somehow, the fact that UK pension levels are the second lowest in the European Union doesn’t seem to register: How does the UK pension measure up against the rest of the world?

Life expectancy levels across the UK vary and improvement in them has stopped: National life tables, UK: 2015 to 2017. In some regions of the UK, after pension ages have been raised, it could well be the case that many more pensioners will only be claiming for a few years before they pass away. There will also be an increase in the number of people who don’t even live to an age where they can collect a pension.

Does the Centre for ‘Social Justice’ seriously expect manual workers such as builders, delivery workers and the like to carry on working into their 70s? Limbs and joints knackered by decades of hard manual graft will not allow people to carry on working into their 70s. This is before you factor in dodgy prostates, bladders and other conditions which will make any kind of work, let alone manual work, a humiliating trial. In an increasingly ruthless work culture, how many employers are going to make allowances for older workers with health conditions?

So if you’re in your early 70s and suffering from conditions that make it difficult from work, you’ll be at the mercy of a ‘benefits’ system that has shown itself to be cruel and inhumane. If someone is in the early stages of dementia and has to deal with the machinations of a ‘benefits’ system that’s set up to trip them over and deny them money, how the fuck are they expected to cope?

Those most affected by this will be working class and living in the poorer regions of the UK. Their health will already have been impacted by over a decade of austerity. Now, they are effectively expected to work until they drop or submit themselves to the tortuous process of applying to the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) for the benefits they need to survive. The DWP already has blood on its hands: A powerful protest highlights the ongoing tragedy of DWP deaths.

The Centre for ‘Social Justice’ is chaired by Ian Duncan Smith, the former Secretary of State for the DWP. Duncan Smith rightly has a reputation for being a callous piece of shit. This report isn’t about enhancing opportunities for older workers – it’s about hoping as many of us die before we reach pension age so that the money saved can be channelled into more tax cuts for the rich. If this shit doesn’t get people out onto the streets wanting to tear this rotten system down, we don’t know what will…


Reposted from The South Essex Heckler

Photo: DWP buildings at Quarry Hill, Leeds, credit: Chemical Engineer