Wise Age continues to fight attacks on working people of all ages

Neil Moralee ImageAt present there are less than 50% of people aged 64+ who are in work as a result of ageist employment practices and prejudice. We at Wise Age have been fighting against extending the pension age until and unless the majority of people in their last year before their pension are in employment. The older you get after 50, if you lose your job, the less chance you have of getting another full time job again (by 60 that is a less than 8% chance). So why do they want to extend the pension age? This is not an economic argument but a political one, the Conservatives and the right wing media want to make this into an intergenerational conflict to deflect from the real conflict between the wealthy and the rest of us and to keep people from focusing on the impact of austerity.

The older generations do not cost the country money, on the contrary they make a positive economic contribution and if it were not for the 'silver economy' we would be in a major recession.

There are 71% of people aged 50-65 in work, who make a major contribution into the economy. Their presence in the workforce helps increase productivity, profitability and improves staff morale, with more younger people being taken on and trained when older people are retained. Yet of the 29% out of work only 10% receive unemployment benefit, because so many of us are forced onto other benefits or not claiming at all.

For those that are aged 65+ there are now 1.2 million still in work, but voluntarily, as they are able to retain their pensions and work, often flexibly, while continuing to pay their taxes. This voluntary option is working very well and should be encouraged. But to force people to carry on working - when there is not much work for them - and for the many that have been exhausted by hard manual labour or health conditions this is an unfair, unjust attack on their right to enjoy their final years on a decent income.

The reality for many pensioners is that they live under or very close to the poverty line and the majority of pensioners earn less than £12k per year.

This obscene proposal by rich entitled and brutal politicians is a continuation of the demolition of the welfare state and the right to basic living standards while the richest continue to receive tax loopholes and benefit entitlements such as the subsidies to landlords and employers.

Wise Age continues to fight this and other attacks on ordinary working people of all ages. Remember what the Tories want to do to our rights, protections and incomes next time you vote.

Supporting the Campaign by WASPI to Rescind the Rise in the Pension Age for Women to 66

Amber Rudd should not have betrayed older women over their pensions.

Positive Ageing in London (PAiL) and Wise Age are both supporting the campaign by WASPI to force the government to respect their rights and rescind the forced rise in the pension age for women from 60 to 66 by 2020. This precipitous move effectively has forced many women without due notice to either live off benefits or be forced to carry on working for an extra 6 years.

Chris Walsh Chair of PAiL and Chief Executive of Wise Age said

'It is a disgrace that Amber Rudd, the then DWP minister has rejected the demands by WASPI for natural justice and has effectively forced women to live in comparative poverty or carry on working beyond their anticipated retirement age. This shows a complete lack of empathy for other women or an understanding of the situation millions of older women in the UK are facing - namely poverty.
This is part of a wider problem that older people are increasingly being picked on as the people responsible for the poverty of younger people, when the real culprits are the Government's brutal pursuit of austerity and lack of commitment to helping increase the income of working and poorer people, focusing only on reducing taxes for the very richest.
The reality for over a million women pensioners is that they live below the poverty line and over 60% of all pensioners exist on an income below the tax threshold of £12,500.
Instead of blaming older people for the impoverishment of the young, blame the Government's policies which have led to the wages of ordinary people still below 2008 levels while allowing the richest to increase their wealth by double or triple over the same period, mostly tax free. 
Companies are still able to exploit the labour forces, trade unions are banned in many companies and the iniquitous use of zero hours contracts extends to even more people.
There should be a freeze on raising the pension age above 65 until there are a majority of people aged 64 in work, which is not currently the case. What in fact is happening is that yet again older people are being forced to either work longer and longer or live in poverty on benefits when they should be and have paid for a decent pension.
We seniors need to step up our demands for a decent minimum income for all - including pensioners and we fully support the actions that campaigning groups like WASPI and also the National Pensioners Convention are taking to fight the removal of free TV licences for all over 75s.’

Wise Age & PAiL Oppose Withdrawal of Free TV Licences

BBC1 Colour Logo500We are completely opposed to the government's attempt to deny older people aged 75+ the right to free access to BBC services.

This is a government decision which breaks their own Manifesto commitment. They should not be allowed to pass the buck on this to the BBC who have their own cuts and needs to consider but should instead take responsibility to maintain the support given by the state to help older people access transport, heating and TV.

As many older people are increasingly socially isolated the TV is often their main company and entertainment and it is cruel to remove this. Also the majority of pensioners live on under £11,500 per year, with millions actually in poverty therefore the amount they will need to find to pay for their licence will be a significant drain on their very limited resources, unlike the situation of those in government and Parliament for whom such an amount is a drop in the ocean.

We are also very opposed to the attempts by government and sections of the media and politicians to try to create an artificial division between the old and the young. Attacking the rights of the old will not lead to increasing the rights and benefits of the young. What is required is intergenerational solidarity so that those at both ends of the age spectrum - particularly the majority who are facing insecurity in income, housing, health and community facilities - are supported through an end to austerity, an increase in local services and increased wages and benefits for all.

PDF FileApplication of the Public Sector Equality Duty: Consideration of Equality Issues in BBC Decision-Making in Relation to Age-Related Concessions for TV Licences