"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

The Pensioners' Lot

Chelsea Pensioner - Find His Pipe*

When young and starting out on a career, thoughts of pensions are a long way off and not very interesting. And naturally in the early years of career building promotion and other financial concerns like mortgages and life insurance tend to take higher priority in one's mind. However as middle-age approaches, thoughts begin to turn to pensions and what provisions are on offer in the latest pay deal or whether one should start thinking about taking out private pension provisions to 'top up' what the state pension may offer when state pension age is eventually reached.

As I have become older I have naturally become more interested in the whole pensions issue. And obviously at the moment there seems to be hardly a week going by without an item appearing on the news where a firm has announced the 'closure of its final salary pension scheme' or that yet another firm has gone into administration and its pensioners are now in trouble. And the new Coalition Government is announcing plans to put up the State Pension Age for both men and women. So perhaps it is understandable if young people starting out on their working lives at the moment are not really interested/have faith in the security of existing pension schemes, private or state.

I was thinking about all of this when reading the latests news on discussions regarding the strike between the National Union of Journalists and the management of the BBC over the proposed changes to the BBC Pension Scheme. What never seems to be said in these sort of circumstances is that when any changes are suggested to pension schemes, these changes do not exist to a scheme which is in a sort of 'time vacuum'. The pension schemes that have been built up todate are the result of contracts signed and agreed over the years between employees and employers and are in fact deferred wages as they were part of previous wage agreements and conditions of employment going back over employees' working lives. These employees are not being selfish by trying to retain previouslytheir employers taking money from their bank savings accounts! Pensions are really another form of saving over the working life of an individual. Please respect that, employers.

*This 'search picture' is on a 'search cigarette card issued in 1926 by Major Drapkin and Co (UK Tobacco Co). The question posed is 'Where is the pensioner's pipe?' and it can be 'found' on his newspaper, right hand edge. A better question these days might be 'where is the pensioner's pension?' perhaps....

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