Moan, moan, moan. Why has no-one mentioned that the Government has re-introduced the connection between state pensions and average earnings, which Margaret Thatcher removed and oh-so-generous New Labour failed to restore? Campaigners for senior citizens have been harping on about this for years, but now they have it, they go on about RPI-CPI, the removal of free bus passes and so on, as if they are god-given rights. Free bus passes and TV licenses and huge winter fuel payments for all pensioners, irrespective of income, are a relatively new phenomenon and should not be regarded as immune from cuts just because pensioners play the Old Age card.
As a working person I think pensioners shold stop harping on about the 75 pence rise a few years ago and remember that they will be getting a 5% increase in their state pension next year, whilst most ordinary people have wage freezes or wage cuts, or short-time working. I would *love* to be getting a 5% pay rise, but I'm not going to get one, and meanwhile I still have to pay taxes for today's state pensioners. They may beat their sticks on the ground and say "I paid my way and earned my entitlement" when they were working, but it's not a level playing-field: there were fewer pensioners in their day and they had much lower longevity so the workers had less to pay. Of course I'm willing to stand corrected if someone can show me that the real costs of state pensions and as a proportion of median income haven't increased, and are not likely to in future, but on the face of it pensions (and associated healthcare costs) should be more burdensome, given the retirement of the baby boomers and increased longevity.
I agree with UncleEbenezer: pension promises made decades ago were unsustainable. Please face economic realities: whatever a pension scheme may say in the small print about index-linking when it was dreamt up 20 or 40 years ago, no one anticipated the huge increases in longevity or the improvements in healthcare that have occurred in recent years. If people expect to receive full pensions in their late 80s or 90s when the original actuaries predicted the beneficiaries would shuffle off in their mid-70s, something has to give: even fully-funded schemes are highly vulnerable if the current increases in longevity and the deeply depressed real returns on investment continue, especially when pension schemes are obliged to put so much of their money into bonds to pay for current pensioners, to the detriment of the interests of current contributors, who really want growth, not dividends.