STOP DEMONIZING PENSIONERS!
My guest blog on Gransnet: December 2012Will everyone please stop demonizing pensioners. Nowadays staying alive has become a crime against society. But why should we apologise or feel guilty? What would society do without us?
Only recently Lord Bichard claimed that older people are a "negative burden on society" - that the elderly should do community work or lose their pensions. He has no grip on reality. We support the economy free of charge. We care for grandchildren to allow their parents to work and pay tax. We care for very elderly parents whose community care has been withdrawn or become unaffordable. And we have the true "big society" ethic giving our time to charities and communal projects. It is because we don't have jobs that we can do all this, and what is more we are tax payers. Whether we work or not we pay tax at the same rate as everyone else. We pay tax on our pensions. We have paid all our working lives towards our old age and to helping others and continue to do so. Only the poorest pensioners, like the poorest wage earners, are exempt from tax because they are below the tax threshold.
I lay in bed the other night tossing and turning. Hope that's not too much information. I was angry. I fantasized about a new political party: The Grey Party. Statistics based on the 2011 census shows 9.2 million people in England and Wales of pensionable age. One in six people in the UK are over 65. For the first time there are more people of pensionable age than there are people under the age of 16. Many older people are not on line. They do not have contact with social networks to widely express and share their views. But what older people do is vote. We are a massive and powerful lobby. Our voices should be heard loud and clear.