Robbing Peter


All our lives we think of being warm, fed and content in retirement, following a lifetime of work. With just thirteen days to go, my own official retirement looms on my sixty-fifth birthday on the eight of March. While serving notice via snail-mail of when and how much my pension will be; already it has been readjusted down before it has even begun.

You would think that after working from the age of sixteen, until I was pushed out of the job market due to ill health aged fifty-five, that I would be entitled to a full state pension – apparently not. It would appear that the fact I worked for thirty-six years in New Zealand now counts against me. When my father retired, the New Zealand pensions department contacted the UK for contributions as he spent most of his working life here. So why hasn’t it happened in reverse for me?

The original notification from the Department of Work and Pensions informed me that I was entitled to £140.00 per week. Now it stands at £65.00. How in God’s name they came up with that figure boggles the mind. Thank goodness for the small but regular monthly royalty injections into my bank account from my publisher. It’s not much, but at least the DWP can’t readjust that in the same way. Although having said that, if anyone working for the DWP reads this…

Like millions of others here in the UK, I have to be extremely careful when it comes to spending money. The readjusted pension is less than the Incapacity Benefit for those considered to be still within the working age bracket, but unable to work for medical reasons as I was. Not that it’s much – £85.00 per week. But at least it was possible to live on it – just.

The winter fuel allowance for us oldies to help pay the exorbitant heating bills has been slashed by the government. Their latest obscenity is due to hit all people classed as poor, not just OAP’s like myself, when it becomes law in April – bedroom tax. In short, according to the government you only need one to sleep in. Any others are considered underutilized and therefore taxable. If you live in rented accommodation as I do, you stand the very real chance of being relocated to an even smaller one bedroom residence.

Even the conscientious retirement savers are not out of reach. Many private pension schemes have crashed and burned – far too many to mention. I was in one briefly during the eighties, run by Southern Cross, until it went belly up thanks to bad financial investments by greedy investment bankers, years before the banks crashed in 2008.

I now have to wait until Tuesday, twelfth of March. That’s when the first state pension payment goes into my bank account. Of course the bank will want their cut, so it will be even less than the paltry £65.00 per week.

Am I looking forward to spending my remaining years as an old age pensioner? What the hell do you think!

3 thoughts on “Robbing Peter

  1. The whole trans-atlantic system is plagued by these austerity nuts. I like how these a-holes never think twice about applying shock treatment austerity to countries, but when a proposal comes for pro-aggregate demand, they start their lamentation about inflation and the supernatural.
    Here’s a rather interesting article:
    “Is the UK national debt at a historical high? Actually it’s lower than it has been for most of the last 300 years.”
    Austerity is always disproportionate. The poor get poorer, while the rich get richer. The financial system is plagued by corrupt investment houses. The rating agencies have no business reflecting reality. Especially when they don’t sort between lawful and unlawful financial assets of the banking system, and when they downgrade the rating of sovereign currency issuers.
    Consumption is not a consequence of production. Production is a consequence of consumption. I’m not eating because I made food. I made food because I wanted to eat.
    But there’s so much lies and ignorance out there, that the truth is dwarfed by all the noise. If people really want to know the degree of social injustice, they should divide the world’s GDP by population, while keeping in mind that we’re not producing as much as we could, because aggregate demand is not encouraged, it’s being squeezed under the boot of austerity. Producers are going to produce only what they’re able to sell. And they can’t sell, if we the consumers can’t buy. Thus, they decrease production, lay off workers, reduce salaries and benefits, and all the while, the governments are doing the same. Thus we enter this vicious circle, out of which there’s no escape. The credit boom that blew up was based on the over-leveraging of the financial system. Practically what they did was to hand us out private toxic money. Then the deck of cards came crushing down. Now the private sector (productive business and households) are left in debt, while the banksters get bailouts, moral hazard is encouraged, prosecutors don’t go after them (because they’re worried that justice might affect the financial system), they get to keep their huge bonuses, they get to continue dealing with fictitious assets, while the people are left with no benefits, smaller pay checks, longer hours, reduction of welfare, xenophobia, nationalism, et all.
    With that being said, Mr Eason, I think you’re awesome for staying so active and involved with current events. A lot of people could use that lesson; cause being deaf to the world around us means picking the evil side. Neutrality and passivity in such circumstances always pave the way for the triumph of evil, whatever its formers.


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