On 24 Oct 2010 at 9:53pm Newmania wrote:
There is a small group, about 17%, of pensioners who live on very small incomes. I have no problem with them. At a time when Lewes is bound to be hit badly by Public Sector cuts and real distress around the country is unavoidable,I unimpressed that once again the Baby Boomers are tilting the game.
Universal benefits should be means tested should they? Well mine are, so why the hell are Winter fuel allowances, free bus passes, TV Licences and Winter fuel payments for the wealthiest group in the country, being protected.
They hoard half of the Nation`s £6 trillion of wealth and, on average, two years ago, 55-69 year olds had £109,000 of assets. They rejoice on final salary pensions, got free dental and unlike any young person looking nervously at the future had free Uni. Then their social inferiors paid for Ski-ing holidays. Now they take SKI holidays ( Spend Kid`s Inheritance).
In 2007 the average age for buying your first property was 34 in 1997 it had been 26.The Boomers have of course obtained fabulous unearned wealth from bricks and mortar Young people now are going to leave University with huge debts .If they bother going at all they will certainly not sit around philosophising and getting stoned. It will be Electrical Engineering and noses to the grindstone.
We know why .At the time of the 2005 election MORI calculated that over 55s had 4.2 times the voting power of 18-34 year olds and we can only assume that their absence from the cutting room floor is focus group driven
I am not young myself but I do wonder how long the young of the country are going to put up with ever increasing burdens placed on them by others who, once again , have missed avoided the chop. At the very least it puts a big dent in the coalitions claim that we are "All in this together"
Present company is of course excepted .I assume any person of senior years reading this post is a kind generous and wise human being whose personal generosity is beyond question
On 24 Oct 2010 at 10:14pm Newmatic wrote:
It seems that Newmania has decided that because his own blog site receives on average no more than 0.01 visitors and comments per month, he's going to blog here instead.
On 24 Oct 2010 at 10:24pm moi wrote:
i didnt even get halfway through when i glazed over..
On 25 Oct 2010 at 6:08am MC wrote:
Newmania's point is pertinent & valid. From my perspective as a 50 year old, having seen my pension dwindle and my retirement age increased I am becoming envious of others recently retired, all with no mortgages, great pensions, healthy and educated (having benefited from free good-quality health care and education). Many will be swanning around the world enjoying themselves for the next thirty years. My son on the other hand will be growing up in a country with extremely pressured and overwhelmed public services, leaving university (in the increasingly unlikely event that he goes) with huge debts, then paying high taxes (if he gets a job), and not able to afford a house (raising the horrifying prospect that he will still be living with us when he's thirty years old).
If the youth had the same backbone and spirit as many had in the 60s and 70s I'd say that by not apportioning these cuts fairly and according to the ability of people to suffer them we are likely to see increasing inter-generational strife in the future.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 7:54am Stat man wrote:
You can make percentage stats about anything. 22% of the population know this though
On 25 Oct 2010 at 8:44am Newmonia wrote:
Well said Newmatic!!!
On 25 Oct 2010 at 9:36am WilliamDyer wrote:
What would be the cost to means test these universal benefits? In submitting your answer please supply some half-way decent references, show your working, and include the costs for all the bitching and moaning, appeals and bullsh*t.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 9:50am MRNICE wrote:
When we have all stopped feeling sorry for ourselves we can get back to work.
There is a choice ,either sit around moaning about how cruel the world is or get out there and make some money. Thats what millions are doing around the world. That is what globalisation means. No,someone else isn't going to solve all your problems,its up to you. Self-pity makes you poor!
Tell your children to compare themselves with asian students working 70hours a week as well as studying. That is their competition.
No, I don't have a big pension and I expect to work till I die, then again I have designed a job I like. That doesn't come by accident.
WAKE UP. ITS A WHOLE NEW DAY!
On 25 Oct 2010 at 9:50am Newmania wrote:
Newmatic - Just put something in when I have something to say.
William D- Well there are plenty of Pensioners paying higher rate tax so thats a press of the button. Why not do that ?
On 25 Oct 2010 at 10:52am bubble wrote:
Many of us pensioners have also suffered huge losses in our pensions and savings in the recent financial crisis, not all have final salary pensions and we still pay tax on what we do get. Amongst my friends, not many went to uni, many left school at 15 or 16 and worked until retirement at 65 or are still working to make ends meet. I agree that all benefits should be means tested but also feel that people of working age who are living off the state should be subject to far greater scrutiny and that the benefit system in general needs a major overhaul to encourage people back into work. (or to work for the first time.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 10:59am Clifford wrote:
It's always remarkable how Newmania the arch-Tory trots out 'let's all be equal' socialism when he thinks it suits his political argument. He was doing it the other day when he was complaining about the government removing subsidies from the railways. You should sort your political position out before making a fool of yourself in public Newmania.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 11:18am sashimi wrote:
As someone who fits into Nemania's baby boomer definition, I have a lot of sympathy with what he says. Unfortunately the older generation are better at voting than the young who feel that politics is boring and doesn't apply to them. So, NHS budgets don't get cut while education (esp uni) is slashed. Top rate tax payers get winter fuel allowance but not child benefit. No one needs bus passes that work outside the area where you live - but they are understanably very popular. Maybe the time has come for an upper age limit on voting as well as a lower one. Cardinals lose the right to vote for the next Pope at 80. It's not often that the Vatican leads the way. Maybe we should too.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 11:52am wallander wrote:
One thing that might help would be to have lower benefits and a lower minimum wage for those who have not paid into the system yet. I hate to see young people on the streets during the day when they should be working or studying. The work habit is easily lost. Sadly the value of unskilled work is declining faster than ever and a new tier of professional jobs are about to be automated and outsourced. This means we may have a segment of the population who are of no economic value except as consumers. No politician will admit this but banks and social scientists use this info in their calculations.
The future might be very bleak for some of us.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 12:15pm MC wrote:
> new tier of professional jobs are about to be automated and outsourced.
Could you explain?
On 25 Oct 2010 at 12:23pm Newmania wrote:
You have got it in one Sashimi and your kind and thoughtful comment is much appreciated .As I said the voting rates amongst older people are vastly higher but then what are they supposed to do about that ?
I`d hate to seem anti older /old I `m no spring chicken myself and I am a great valuer of experience and wisdom. Lets get it in proportion, the supposed privations suffered by the young are just nothing compared to the heroic generations that lived through the war and its bleak aftermath. Its more the young I am thinking about.
No hope of a house
No pension in all likeliehood
The already disadvantaged suffer a double blow .Why should they feel "We are all in it together"?
Clifford as to you the term Conservative means something like apostate of Satan , I very much doubt that ideological consistency would do me much good in your eyes .
On 25 Oct 2010 at 12:53pm wallander wrote:
solicitors and their staff,branch banking and building societies. some teaching especially technical and scientific, military (ie jets replaced by uavs,tanks by autonomous artillery and rocket systems),medical robotics replacing some surgeons and some nurses and carers. Some of it is 20 years away,some is here now. Of course this will create technical jobs but many in a different area to those being lost.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 1:26pm queequeg wrote:
I know a pre baby boomer who, because of free university place, began work at 26 and took early retirement at 52 on index linked pension. It would take a phenomenal work rate during 26 years of work to repay what that citizen has cost society in general. But that is not the point I want to make-
It is that that process of early retirement (during the last Tory government) began with a few recipients as a cheap way of sorting out departments with dead wood, became envied, then demanded and now accepted as a right. Thus the example above has become the norm for civil service careers and the main reason why the pension bill is becoming such a large and unsustainable burden.
Another point I wish to make is that computer development has led to the keeping of too many records and the ability to command whole legions by the press of the button and thus top down detailed management. Everybody but the man at the top is incapable of decision making and must refer to received instructions. This prevents police capability as in posts about "incident last night", it prevented the emergency services helping victims on 7/7, it lays like thick mud after a flood preventing movement but most seriously it deadens the entrepreneurial spirit. Every sector of our society is now micro managed by pen pushers interfering and enforcing their judgements on businesses large and small. You would think that being a childminder was a very simple business to run, don't you believe it, Ofsted is on the case and has been making it harder and harder for years. Many childminders have dropped out, the number of children they can manage has dropped, costs have risen and so have charges. I can't begin to list here all the regulations that apply, but it seems the intention is to make every career into a degree level undertaking - simply to look after your child with the same care you would use yourself. The only effect is to rule out many people who would be capable childminders but who cannot manage the paper work. In fact the ideal career choice for single mothers who need to work around their own children and not be a burden on the state and are now regulated out of that possibility.
Any other small business could tell the same tale, scaffolders, plumbers, electricians have all had an exponential increase in rules and regulations and requirement for more and more qualifications, micro management from above. Once you employ someone it is almost impossible to work anything like full time yourself because your time is taken up so much with the regulatory requirements of employing someone. this is why you so rarely see apprentices these days. Therefore fewer tradesmen, therefore Polish plumbers, therefore unskilled unemployed underclass of indigenous population.
Micro management must be abolished and government must sign up to a self denying ordinance that because a thing can be managed from above does not mean that it should be. Wipe away years of bureaucratic micro management and businesses and the economy will thrive.
It is the dragging effect of bigger and longer pensions, less work, more regulation, less productivity - added increment by increment over 30 years that has brought us to the position we find ourself in.
Every time we have increased wealth in the past government has thought - we can afford a little regulation here, an early retirement there, an extra council department, it would be nice to do so and so, wouldn't such and such be fun - the end result is an economy so moribund that we cannot employ our own people.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 2:28pm sashimi wrote:
Oh dear! Newmania agreeing with me and now me agreeing with much of what queeequeg is saying. I hope that doesn't make me a Tory.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 2:39pm MC wrote:
Great post queequeg. I can quote so many instances of this type of thing, but the saddest is that the imposed requirement for helpers, referees and coaches to undertake training and gain certification killed all the football teams for the kids and under 18s in my village as none of the adults (i.e. parents) had sufficient free time to do the courses and gain the certificate.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 3:44pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
I was born in 1955 and think I still count as a baby boomer. I have worked since 1972 and much of that time tax was vastly higher than it is now. I didn't have a problem paying high taxes, as I believed that the state would look after me when the time came for me to retire. My first house was bought with a mortgage nearly 5 times my income and I was absolutely skint paying it for the first 10 years, despite having a lodger.
Now I find that not only have I got to work 6 years longer than I had planned to and that my private pension will be a fraction of what I expected, but I needn't really have bothered because I'll get the same state pension as all those people who didn't bloody bother.
People think it was great back in the 60s, but basic rate tax was 42.5% (or 8/6 in the pound, for us old farts). Only really comfortably off people could afford to buy houses, because taxes were so high. Thankfully, there were secure, rent-controlled tenancies to be had in the private sector and it was a lot easier to get social housing.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 4:00pm Clifford wrote:
Newmania wrote: 'Clifford as to you the term Conservative means something like apostate of Satan , I very much doubt that ideological consistency would do me much good in your eyes .'
I have a lot of respect for Tories who present their views coherently (JRSussex for example). I disagree with him much of the time but can see that his ideas arise from a combination of thought and experience. What you write is often virtually incoherent and when it is comprehensible seems like a ragbag of badly-informed prejudice. I wouldn't be surprised if genuine Tories feel embarrassed by you.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 4:09pm Down and Out wrote:
Crikey, I agree with Queequeg too.
In my business, if you want to get work on mainland Europe you usually get asked to submit examples of work you've done before. If they like it, you might get asked to give a price.
Last week we had a couple of people in the office who spent all week filling in 200-odd pages of utter b*ll*cks, as a pre-application to get on a framework agreement for LB Southwark. This was all garbage to do with demonstrating that we comply with H&S legislation, that we comply with Equalities legislation, that we manage risk competently etc etc. Had we not done any of these things, though, we wouldn't be trading anyway! They might as well ask, "Have you ever shot anyone?"
The stupid thing, after all that, is that they're not even slightly interested in the quality of our work; it's just a box-ticking exercise.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 5:10pm jrsussex wrote:
I am a Tory, leaning to the right, as regular posters are aware. However those I generally more or less agree with appear to be a little off beam on this one, both Newmania and MC. I think I might fit into the very type, financially, of older person of whom you speak. Whilst I would entirely support an attempt to ensure such things as free bus travel, winter fuel payments, TV licences and prescriptions are only given to those that need them I would ask you to bear in mind that many of those that would fit into the qualifying group are people who have spent much of their working lives on benefits. My closest example is a sister, her husband and their five children (All adult now, three on benefits) who have made no attempt to work for almost forty years (that's right forty years,) live in a very nice council house that is well furnished to a high standard. There is no reason why the husband could not work. So means testing would actually ensure that those who put most into the pot get the least out of it. Not necessarily against that but it is unfortunate that it is what proves to be the case so often, just thought it worth a mention.
Now we come to free services. NHS? Free to whom, certainly not me. I left school at fifteen, worked hard for the next fifty one years during which time I paid tax and NI (apart from when I worked abroad) for which the various Governments of the day promised me that I would, in return for the payments I made to them, care for me in my times of need. In 2008 I had two major operations for which I am extremely grateful, but I feel I well and truly covered the costs.
In 2009 I required some dental work, which I had to pay for even though I went NHS. Spectacles, which I need if I am to read, also cost me on the NHS. Hearing problem? NHS I had to pay. I think the idea that the NHS is a free service is incorrect. Those who are on benefit, and for many of them it is justifiable, do receive practically everything free, those that work do not. That is why in the matter of those receiving benefits that are not justified I do get frustrated.
Now housing, when I retired I was mortgage free but had been paying mortgages on the various properties I owned since I was twenty-eight. The final payment made when I was sixty three, so along with everything else I feel I was entitled to be mortgage free. My first house cost approximately 3.5k but I was earning less than 2k per annum. The sums would not be very different from those of today.
Finally a moan about the Coalition, I am disgusted that the EU is proposing an increase in their budgets given that all European countries are facing cuts. That the EU is proposing to increase maternity leave with pay for up to one year, and finally given the swingeing cuts UK citizens have to suffer I think the announcement that foreign aid is to be increased is quite incredible.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 5:14pm WilliamDyer wrote:
@Newmania - just to pick up on your reply about means testing. Its anything BUT the press of a button. Look at the size (and cost) of the HRMC as it administrates taxation. Add to that assessment of income (however you define that) on a case by case basis for each benefit you wish to means test, allowing for fair challenge, and you're at the very least going to create another income source for creative accountants. CSA is another great example. Im all for shrinking the state, and the cost/benefit analysis of means tested v universal benefits needs some careful thought.
Interesting thread this: hasn't yet descended into abuse (yet)
On 25 Oct 2010 at 5:21pm MC wrote:
Wow. Your sister has blown me apart. People can do that, live in mod-con comfort at the expense of the rest of us whilst producing and cultivating five more scroungers? I thought this stuff was fantasy propagated by the tabloids.
I must get out more.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 6:44pm WilliamDyer wrote:
The NHS is not free. It is free at the point of delivery. Most people pay for it in some form through taxation and NI. And these contributions aren't some kind of savings account, from which you can draw should you be unfortunate enough to fall ill and require treatment. I've done my time in the health service, and the worst patients were those that phoned demanding home visits or quicker appointments because 'they've paid for it'
If you feel that strongly about nationalised healthcare why not contribute to private insurance? Even taking into account your NHS contributions you'll be paying less than in many other countries for your healthcare.
I hardly consider reading glasses to be a necessary healthcare expense. Senile Presbyopia is as much a part of normal aging as going grey or getting wrinkles, and I dont see anyone suggesting that hair dye or moisturiser is supplied on the NHS.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 8:46pm jrsussex wrote:
WillliamDyer - Who rattled your cage? If you are genuinely very poor and could not afford spectacles be assured they would be considered "necessary", it's not just reading, you need to see where you are going.
I don't think I complained in my post, I was simply pointing out that healthcare is not free even on the NHS. Unless of course you are on benefits. As you seem interested I should advise you that I did pay private health insurance from the time I was 37 until reaching the age of 65, the only reason I stopped them was because, although I had never used the service up to my 65th birthday thet company wanted to treble my annual fees. I have since learned that that is not unusual. After cancelling it I then fell seriously ill, which was unfortunate.
I have certainly never used the phrase "I've paid for it" in relation to the NHS, quite the opposite. On leaving hospital I thanked all concerned and wrote a nice thank you letter to the press thanking the surgeon and all nursing staff. You have picked on the wrong one this time Willy Boy.
On 25 Oct 2010 at 10:02pm Newmania wrote:
J R Sussex
My first house cost approximately 3.5k but I was earning less than 2k per annum. The sums would not be very different from those of today.
Ahem , not quite .What would a House cost today £200,000 say ? How many 28 years olds are clearing over half that per annum ? There is no doubt that house prices have inflated way ahead of salaries and in that sense it is hard for the young . David Willetts dealt with this exhaustively in his book the Pinch. I also realise that in many individual cases the removal of universal benefits is unfair. There has been little sympathy for those of us who have had £2500 taken from net income at the bottom of the higher rate as child benefit . We paid our share but did not get our turn.Times are hard, they say, and we are all in this together .
In both cases a specific promise was made , one was kept the other abandoned.It looks inconsistent shall we say.
I agree with you entirely about the EU and as for increasing International AID by 50% obliging us to borrow £50 billion over five years to give away , words fail me .....( well sometimes).
On 26 Oct 2010 at 12:06am jrsussex wrote:
Newmania - I take your point. One of the big differences at that time was that lenders were very strict in allowing you to borrow only three times your annual salary/wages. At that time you could not have your wife's income taken into account for the purpose of obtaining a mortage. The thinking being that she would get pregnant at some time in the future and her income would stop, no maternity benefits in those days. I believe, and this is simply my opinion, that the change in that rule played a major role in pushing up property prices at that time.
On 26 Oct 2010 at 3:35pm williamdyer wrote:
@JRSussex: My cage was rattled by you.
Reading glasses cost £3.99, available online with free p&p.
On 26 Oct 2010 at 5:22pm jrsussex wrote:
WilliamDyer - Very good, may well be value for money but how does purchasing in that way ensure that any other problems are identified? I have to have my eyes photographed each year due to being diabetic, there are of course many other medical problems identified by opticians, or is that an ophthalmic optician thesse days?
On 26 Oct 2010 at 9:04pm WilliamDyer wrote:
Strawman, your honour.
Diabetic eye checks - free. Whole list here: h**p://tinyurl.com/q9k4go
Screening - I agree that this is worthwhile, when appropriate criteria for the screening test are met (the famed 'Wilsons criteria' ) h**p://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screening_(medicine)
Anyhoo, drifting from the point. It is a health service, and as such should limit it's scope to health related activities. Goodness knows these are being stretched by any number of interested parties these days.