“How low can you go?” warbled Chubby Checker in the song ‘Limbo Rock’. For our younger reader Checker was one of the greats of Rock n’ Roll in the sixties. Chubby was asking the question of Limbo dancers (don’t try it at home dear readers) but the question could be addressed to our uncaring government. For example take scary George Osborne who has single handedly replaced the ubiquitous Chinese takeaway with a Chinese giveaway (See previous articles). The wannabe PM has shelved plans to address the unfairness of hard working people paying more of their pension contributions than the wealthy in society, because some of his Tory colleagues and posh friends don’t like the idea of paying the same rate.
In a nutshell what happens at present is that high earners pay less into their pension pot than low earners. As a crude example take a contribution of £10,000 towards a pension pot where the Government is giving relief based on your equivalent tax band; low earners on a basic rate of tax would be paying £8,000 saving £2,000 which would otherwise have gone in tax, whereas higher earners on say 40% and 45% bands of tax would pay only £6,000 and £6,500 by receiving savings of £4,000 and £4,500. It’s easy to see how much the current system favours the well off. I hope you are paying attention, questions will be asked later.
Given the opportunity to amend this unfair anomaly the creepy chancellor has bottled it because many of his backbenchers (read potential supporters in the leadership stakes – known here as the Donkey Derby) are up in arms about it. Why? Well, because if the chancellor had scrapped the tax relief entirely on pension’s savings and created instead something like a new pensions Isa that would have cost the better off billions of pounds collectively. And they were certain to make sure that Tory MPs were well aware of their displeasure. Where would the avaricious Tories funding come from then?
So the big winners will be, surprise surprise, the wealthy. Not only do they earn more, they also get a proportionately bigger tax top-up when they save for their retirement. Even a Tory MP on the Treasury committee said the present system “massively favours those people who are earning more money”. (BBC 5th March 2016). The average wage of a CEO in the UK FTSE 100 in 2014 was £4.96m, 183 times the average workers wage – which makes you wonder why they need a pension. (High Pay Centre March 2016) Whilst hard working people lose out yet again because of this uncaring government.
It’s a despicable and insulting way to treat these people who have worked hard most of their lives and just want to live comfortably in the autumn of their time on earth; treating them with a contempt which brings out the Chancellor’s true colours. We have been used all of our lives to sleazy Tories putting their own self advancement before the needs of working people but this is a new depth to sink to. This Chancellor is deliberately using fiscal incentives to consolidate his position in the leadership run in. Never mind that working people are suffering already through his austerity programme which has little effect on the rich but putting the Posh Boys in charge of the well-being of ordinary people is like putting Ghengis Khan in charge of human rights (For my younger reader – no, it isn’t a boy band).
Apart from the obvious immorality of the nasty party, of which we are well aware, what gets me is the lack of condemnation from the media. It’s as though the problem never existed. If it’s a transgression by a junior member of the Labour London Mayoral candidate’s office it hogs the headlines for days but this deliberate and palpable act of class injustice, for that is what it is, warrants just a passing mention.
If Chubby Checker still wants an answer to his question he would do well to ask it of our grubby Chancellor.
In recent posts I have been bemoaning (who, me?) the fact that this Chancellor is swanning around the Far East selling off the United Kingdom to anyone who’ll buy, particularly the Chinese and that most of our major brands and utilities have ownership abroad (thus reducing our control of our infrastructure and our fast receding manufacturing base) and lo and behold we have the news of a kerfuffle at Hinckley Point in Somerset, the site of our proposed new nuclear power station. I won’t go into the merits/demerits of nuclear power but it is interesting to know that the company entrusted with providing this important sector of our future power is controlled by the French Government and has 33.3% Chinese funding.
Don’t use a P.S. it suggests lazy writing. Sorry!