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From: The Socialist issue 1041, 8 May 2019: Strikes can get results

Search site for keywords: Pensioners - Young people - Poverty - Benefits - Pensions

Young and old, unite and fight!

Young v old is a phoney war - the super-rich bosses are the problem, photo Senan

Young v old is a phoney war - the super-rich bosses are the problem, photo Senan   (Click to enlarge)

Terry Pearce, Thames Valley National Pensioners Convention

A House of Lords report, 'Tackling Intergenerational Fairness', proposes to scrap or means-test universal pensioner benefits.

The report argues that pensioners no longer live in poverty. In fact, the UK state pension is the least adequate in the developed world.

And pensioner poverty has risen in the last year to 1.9 million, in spite of the 'triple lock'.

The report proposes to remove the triple lock from the state pension - the guarantee it will raise in line with inflation, average earnings or 2.5%, whichever is higher - and phase out free TV licences, with an option to means-test them.

Free bus passes

From 2026 to 2028 free bus passes and winter fuel allowances would only be available five years after a person becomes eligible for their state pension.

These proposals take no account of the scale of fuel poverty, the rising numbers of winter deaths, the increase in loneliness or the benefits of bus travel to pensioners.

This report is clearly an attack on pensioner benefits and an attempt to drive a wedge between pensioners and young people.

The report ignores the fact that most pensioners have paid taxes all their working lives and continue to do so in retirement. Many become unpaid carers in retirement, saving the exchequer 57 billion a year.

Attacking pensioners' benefits will do nothing to help young people on low wages, facing unaffordable rents - victims of Tory austerity.

The only real solution to poverty of both young and old is to build a united campaign based not on divisions between young and old, but between the 1% at the top and the rest of us - the 99%.

Young people are the pensioners of the future, yet many of them cannot afford to pay for pensions and face an uncertain future in their retirement.

Housing crisis

Many young people are forced to live with their parents into their 30s, unable to afford rents or mortgages. At the same time, many pensioners are faced with soaring social care costs in old age.

Reports like this from the House of Lords will neither help the young nor the pensioners.

The National Pensioners Convention - the largest campaigning organisation for pensioners in Britain - has sought to build unity with its 'Generations United' initiative.

The National Pensioners Convention says: "Pensioners must stand alongside today's workers in defence of their jobs, pensions and the right to a decent period of retirement."

The Socialist Party stands against all attacks on working-class people, of whatever age or background.

As well as fighting for living pensions, we campaign for a minimum wage of 10 an hour, as a step towards a real living wage.

We fight for rent controls, an end to zero-hour contracts and against all cuts to health and social care.

The grievances of both young and old can be resolved by utilising the vast wealth at the top of our society.

This requires bringing the major monopolies that dominate our economy into democratic public ownership, under workers' control and management.

A Corbyn-led government with socialist policies could do this to unite young and old, say no to austerity, defend the triple lock, and end low wages and high rents.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.

We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to click here to donate to our Fighting Fund.

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Poverty keywords:

Child poverty (41)

Debt (235)

Inequality (85)

Poverty (385)

Relief (20)

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Article dated 8 May 2019

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