The Downing Street state pension robbery

Downing Street thieves

I wonder if Mr Plod has a good sense of humour. It is a good photoshop. Pic Credit: Paul Downes @CallmeDownsie

CROSS POSTED ON BYLINE.COM

The mantra  that we cannot afford to pay the 3.9 million  50s women   their pensions until they are 65 and soon 66 is based on the premise that there is no money in the National Insurance Fund. The big question is why?

I have already in a previous report for #Backto60  shown that the accounts of the National Insurance Fund are in fact in surplus. But detractors point out that they soon won’t be if the government hands back £77 billion owed to the women.

But what if we have reached  this situation because the government has raided a fund  which is 91 per cent spent on pensions for other benefits. And what if the Treasury deliberately decided to  undermine the fund by avoiding paying any money into it?

This is what I have found out by investigating the history of this fund.

The original fund was set up in 1911 by Lloyd George and did not cover pensions – but helped pay  medical bills for wage earners and provided  unemployment benefit for  some workers. Employers and employees had to make compulsory contributions.

Pensions were introduced for those over 70  in 1908 and were means tested and supervised by local councillors. People could be disqualified from getting a pension if they had been imprisoned for ten years, weren’t of good character and were drunkards. The money came from general taxation. There is a House of Commons library report about the act here.

The real major changes came under the Attlee government which set up the welfare state. The National Insurance Act, 1946 introduced compulsory NI for all working people except married women. It set the pension age at 60 for women and 65 for men. Pensions, unemployment benefit, sickness benefit and a maternity allowance and death grant were paid out of it. There is a useful summary in the National Archives here. But it was run as a ” pay as you go ” scheme with money topped by the Treasury.

It is the attack on these provisions which began under the Thatcher government in the 1980s that has led to the 50s women losing out.

An excellent report by the House of Commons library describes what happened. It is worth quoting parts in full.

“In each year from 1948 to 1989, the National Insurance Fund received a grant from the
Treasury, known as the Treasury (or Consolidated Fund) Supplement. The origins of the
Supplement lay in the Beveridge Report, which envisaged a tripartite scheme of contributions to the Fund, whereby the Treasury would pay one third of the cost of unemployment benefits and one sixth of the cost of pensions and other benefits. In practice, the level of the Supplement tended to be around 18% of contribution income, a level at which it was fixed by the Social Security Act 1973.

“From 1980, the value of the Supplement began to decline, reflecting partly the growing level of contribution income and partly the constraining of spending on benefits by the abolition of earnings linking of the pension and other long-term benefits and earnings-related supplements to unemployment benefit. By 1988 the Fund’s contribution income exceeded its benefit expenditure, leading to a steady growth in the balance of the Fund (from £5.3bn in April 1986 to £10.4bn in April 1989 ).

In this context, the then Secretary of State for Social Security, John Moore, stated in 1989 that:

“The tripartite principle is already effectively a dead letter. The rationale behind it has
gone, and the Supplement has been shrinking steadily as a proportion of the Fund’s
income from about one-third in 1948. It now stands at only 5%. We consider that there
is now no need for it all. The £26bn of expenditure from the Fund is fully covered by
contributory income and the abolition of the Supplement will have absolutely no effect
on that expenditure”
“The Supplement was abolished by the Social Security Act 1989.”

It was a disaster – the fund which then  had  big surplus – went heading into the red – as it was now being raided for the full cost of unemployment and sickness benefit at a time of high unemployment.

So in 1993 the Major government had to partly retract by reintroducing a Treasury supplement because money in the fund had fallen by a staggering 50 per cent  due  to benefit pay outs as well as pensions. Pensioners were robbed.

But  the government fixed the rules so it was much less generous than the  system they bequeathed from Attlee. As the report says :

“There are a number of differences between the Treasury Grant and the Treasury
Supplement. First, the levels of Treasury Grant are set by reference to benefit expenditure rather than to contribution income. Second, and more significantly, whereas the Treasury Supplement was paid annually, irrespective of whether it was actually needed to finance a particular year’s expenditure, the Treasury Grant is paid at the discretion of the Secretary of State.

“The amount of Grant paid to the Fund was limited to a maximum of 20% of forecast
benefit expenditure in 1993-94, and to a maximum of 17% of forecast benefit expenditure in subsequent years.”

The truth of the matter is that the rules were skewed so the Treasury never had to pay out any money.  From 1989 to 2014 if the Treasury had returned to its original support  under  the Major, Blair and Brown governments, the Tory Liberal coalition and Cameron’s government, billions of pounds would be available now to help pay the 50s women. Instead as we know successive governments ruthlessly decided to solve the problem by raising the pension age.

In top of this the government also amended the benefits that would be paid out from the fund – including some new benefits like paternity benefit for example.

Anyone who believes the changes that happened – both the removal of Treasury contribution to the fund and the subsequent rise in the pension age – was a happy coincidence is deluding themselves. You can see here  in an article in the Daily Express what  George Osborne, the former chancellor, told investors at the Global Investment conference in 2013. Scroll down to the video

George-Osborne-speaking-at-the-conference-815768

George Osborne speaking at the 2013 Global Investment Conference

He said: “Tackling entitlement costs and the cost of an ageing society is a real challenge for Western democratic societies and in the UK we’ve brought forward the increase in pension age to 66 in this decade; we’ve brought forward the increase to 67 in the next decade and actually because of some reform taken some years ago the female pension age is increasing to 65 as we speak.”

“These changes, when you’re a finance minister, the savings dwarf almost everything else you do.

“They are absolutely enormous savings and they enable you to go on providing a decent retirement income. So you’re not necessarily reducing the entitlement of people who are retired you’re just increasing the age when that entitlement kicks in. ”

“Of course when these were first put into practice these pensions systems life expectations was dramatically less.

“I’ve found it one of the less controversial things we’ve done and probably saved more money than anything else we’ve done.”

Need I say more. The UK has one of the lowest and least generous state pension in the developed world and it has been bought about by making huge savings against 50s women.

 

65 thoughts on “The Downing Street state pension robbery

  1. They need to pay the money they owe now. Before money is wasted on a legal battle defending their position albeit without any chance of winning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Totally agree, I think this government should be charged with embezzlement as that money is being stolen from 50’s women, old age pension is not a benefit it’s been paid over working lives, in any other situation people would be incarcerated for doing what they have done!!

      Liked by 2 people

    • I have given this country 45 years of service so far. I am doing a job that I no longer can but the Government is forcing me to do this job – working with Mental Health AND the Elderly with advanced Dementia. I do all kind of shift pattern, night duty including. For my age, am just a vulnerable as the people I give care and support. So, how can the vulnerable look after the vulnerable. I wrote to my MP a few years ago about this but nothing was done about it, He is now the Mayor of London and nobody cares. The Government is abusing me and many 1950s women like myself by forcing me to do a job that no longer can. Mrs May is around same age as me, can she do what I do for a living? Can she do the job that I do and Night duty? I am very puzzled as to how Nobody in a position that can support us – 50s women to take the Government to Court and the government need to be made to pay for the legal cost. This is the only Action that is left to be taken. We all know that we have been Robbed but what can be done about it, sure if I committed a crime of robbery, I will be punished according to the Law. Is it not a breach / robbery what the Government is doing to us – 50s women? We want our Pension Now and back dated from when we were 60 years old. We do not want No less, No more, just what is ours. None of my business if pension increased BUT must Not apply to us, we have done our years and time to pay back what we have put in. I am very depressed day by day and making me ill. # Waspi

      Like

  2. Cannot believe what has happened to our country, people that work get sod all. I’ve worked since being 15, was the last that year to leave before it went up. Nobody has thought about the jobs we all do different to sitting on backsides all down.There’s enough money in the pot for members of Parliament to retire but not us. This would not happen in another country. I have got to work another 6 years. Disgusted in this country nobody high up cares has long has they are filling their pockets. I’m not in good health but hey ho if I drop tomorrow my pension can go to some other money making racket.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for your report 😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡😡I’m lost for words .

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  4. This is disgusting why should we have to pay for their mistakes.Women who lose their other job,do we starve. Can’t sign on as we get told we have enough stamps on. We need our money, we worked hard for that. We paid in, you pay out. It’s our entitlement some very good friends of mine have not lived long enough to get theirs. l’m sick to the back teeth with this government whoever gets in next time none of them are going to do nothing for the women of the 50s. l can’t see any of us getting anything. The money has been spent.

    Like

  5. Thieving swines.but they’ve got money for their own to retire on thousands a week and a huge lump sum.ive paid 43 years of full national insurance stamps and need OUR DUES back NOW..I’ve joined one voice and donated several times in the hope they’ll listen..the heartless muppets should do what they promised.60 for woman’s retirement and get it back asap.

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  6. Disgusting, us women are being robbed by this government and they know it. They would rather see us dead before we receive what is ours. If this had been on the other foot they would be looking at fraud. i know I won’t see old bones and I would like my pension now. Shame on you, as the saying your all right Jack you won’t have to worry.

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  7. This is disgusting, I want my money back !!! I am 62 and after 15 yrs of caring for our LAC ( looked after children) have to restrain them to keep them and others safe. I still go to work but in constant pain, put my other staff member at risk because i’m a lot slower, struggle to hold them which puts the child at risk. This is just not fair x

    Like

  8. OMG…I’m 63…working full time & also trying to look after my mother who is 86 & very poorly herself…I like many other women have my own ailments I’m asthmatic & COPD (non smoker never have.. )I also have Osteo Arthritis in my hands. I would like to hear that the government would also work till they are our age to see how it affects them.,.George
    Osborne in that statement spoke like he was doing us a favour by putting the age up to 66 & we would so much better off…bloody nerve of the man. Angry isn’t the word. Thank you backto60 for all you are doing for us.

    haveOsteo

    Like

  9. Thank you so much, David, for this detailed expose` of our State Pensions theft. Our govt’s have repeatedly treated women in most despicable way but no more! We will keep on fighting until ALL 1950’s born women receive justice. Now we have Michael Mansfield QC fighting the good fight on our behalf & we will win.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Does the restriction of pension rights for anyone who has been imprisoned for ten years, is not of good character, or is a drunkard, still apply?
    Asking for a friend.
    Cheers. Vernon.

    Like

  11. Women seen has easy targets. Always Been used as cash cows from being robbed of our SP employed in low wage service jobs to being unpaid carers Never had chance to build up pension pots Never had still haven’t got equality.
    Thank you David for publishing this article to highlight how Governments have ripped off our pension fund.

    Like

  12. The thieving powers that be past and present all have enormous pension pots paid by us makes me sick to my gut I am 64yrs old and widowed at 60yrs my poor husband died at 62yrs old never saw his pension age but hay ho lots of immigrants got here’s a house money prisoners got money just because they had to slosh out some piss we the people who put the money into the system get hee haw 😲

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  13. There are people who have never worked in their lifes and are better off than me and my husband who have worked all our lives and are now aged 60 and cannot imagine what it will be like if we have to rely on our pension. I will have to work until. 66 and maybe further if subsequent Governments change the age again, are they hoping we die off before they have to give us our pension? It certainly seems like that.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Need to share and share this, this government will be alright they can get pension when they want and money for Life!
    Thanks for this post !

    Like

  15. Does any1 think that we will ever get are money and be able to retire at 60, im 61 working full time in the care secter, and have worked since leaving school at nearly 15, i just want what i and thousands of other women want the right to retire now and get my bloody pension

    Like

  16. Women’s fight for equality sees them succeed in getting equal pension age – hoorah! But not equal pension entitlements, in many cases, because of years spent raising children and / or looking after family members. So any private or contributory pension a woman might have will also be lower. Disadvantaged at birth! I won’t get a full state pension, but I have still lost around £35k by the raising of the age to 65. There are many women in far worse situations than mine. I am selfemployed and very busy! But long to slow down 😞

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Well its a relief to know that the fight continues but Waspi still needs more publicity and media support! It will take a change of government before we see any real hope !
    The tories have taken advantage of the financial crash and used it to pursue austerity and capitilist policies and raided public bodies . Trickle down economics is a lie . The government and right wing media barons like george osbourne have
    abused their powers . Our main grievance is that we did not receive adequate notice and surely that has to be fought in a court of law

    Like

  18. Pingback: The Downing Street state pension robbery | Fear and loathing in Great Britain

  19. Of course , along with this pension age lottery for women there is the Frozen pension issue which could also affect them by denying any indexation based on where one lives. A stupid unnecessary section 20 in the Pension Act calls for a reciprocal agreement with the country of residence of the retiree when no such agreement is required as this is purely a domestic policy which does not require any foreign government to ‘allow’ it ? Then we have this abuse of an Act of Parliament to impose a fraudulent method of denying people their qualified pension uprating. No private insurer could legally do this.

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  20. A very interesting article showing further evidence of the lying, deceitful, corrupt nature of nearly every Tory Government since the 50s

    Like

  21. An unambiguous a case of complete mismanagement of contributory income by Government and for Government. The original premise of the fund was to gauge what pension payments would be necessary at any given time based of birth/death rates, date of entry into employment, duration of employment etc. To gain such a massive surplus between 1986 and 1989, almost doubling, would have been in no small part to many ‘boomers’ reaching their peak earning power and thus their contributions. For government to then decide, at this time, to reduce or withdraw the Treasury supplement was nonsensical and shortsighted as they should have been more than aware that due to lowered birthrates, women working full time and various other social changes there would inevitably be a decreasing workforce and thus lesser contributions to fulfill the obligations of the ‘pay-as-you-go’ pensions of previous contributors. I find it difficult to believe that this was ‘just’ a cockup with untold numbers of civil servants and statisticians available to Government to make reasonable assumptions, projections and assessments of the effects of cultural and societal shifts and know what the Treasury would need to provide to maintain the necessary equilibrium of the fund. It could be argued that the reduction of National Insurance Contributions by £3 per week to every UK employee in 1989 may have been funded by the Treasury supplement previously earmarked for pensions.🤔🤔🤔 In 1989 the economy was beginning to tank, interest rates were at 14% and there was a leadership challenge to Thatcher, thus an extra £3 every week to spend would have helped soften the economic down turn whilst keep the prevailing political bandwagon on the rails for a little longer, in fact until 1997, another 8 years. The ‘generational’ unfairness sophistry we hear so much about is exposed in all it’s ugliness by living through the those times and a.bit of research. Throughout our lives, there is, evidentially, a set of fairly consistent parameters such as entering the workforce at 15/16 or 18 for most of the population and 60/65 for retirement. Approximately 5% of young people went to university compared to a figure closer to 50% now. A large proportion of today’s graduates further delay entering the work place by continued study with Masters and/ or Ph.d, further delaying making NI conts until mid to late 20s. This one aspect of social engineering instigated by Blair et al and continued by every Government since, must have massive effects on the Contributions ‘pot’. Coupled with the ‘zombie/gig economy’, zero hour contracts to name but two, the population of the UK is in deep, deep trouble The population has increased by 8.5 million between 1989 and today, mostly fuelled by immigration and, as immigrants in general, work for lesser wages and thus lower contributions, there will be an even bigger population very soon who cannot be provided for or looked after in older life.

    Liked by 1 person

      • No, thanks very much to you, David, for your continued support. My long response was actually truncated, as there are many other relevant tangents to the background analysis. I love to read and research, to try to make sense of and understand the utter chaos that has seemingly engulfed the Western world. Sadly, I now rarely listen to or watch MSM even my beloved Radio 4, as ‘group think’ and propaganda has replaced journalism and pursuit of the truth, no matter how unpalatable.

        Like

  22. This is a great article and I cannot believe that the government can justify the way they have cheated us out of our pensions, they had the cheek to say to me that even those who have health problems are being looked after, under the new rules for pip I saw my money cut, am I trying to work for myself without support or help from the so called working links, then lost my tax credits, then say my private pension collapse with no money and they waited years to tell me this to. next the will be sending us to the poor house, I worked from 16yrs old and paid in all those years just to be ripped off.

    Like

  23. Thank you David. I’m 64 worked for 49 years and still working till my SPA Nov 2019. I will have over 50 years NIC. I have raised two children, put them through Uni, they are now both teachers. Cared for my beautiful mum till she died in 2016 aged 96. My husband had to work another 3.5 years till he could go on no longer, he is 69 this year and our plan was always to retire at 60/65. I’m the one having to carry on as I can’t afford to retire unless I get my SP , were is equality in that? I’m angry beyond words and not in good health. I feel I will never reach my SPA and my family will never ever forgive or forget what they have done to me and millions of others😢😡

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Shocking theft of women’s pensions. To steal away monies without adequate notice , even tho myself and over 3 million had paid in to a pension system as our part of the ‘contract ‘ for 40 years, only to be denied a payout 2/3 years before it payout time is theft by no other name !

    Like

  25. Is there an overview anywhere of what actions are being taken by all Waspi groups across the country……..its easy to feel your a lone voice in the wilderness sometimes. would be good to get a regular update on whats happening elsewhere.

    and maybe more direct action is required. any ideas?.

    Like

  26. Probably the biggest case of discrimination against women in recent years, comparable with the struggle foe female suffrage. David you are a fine journalist. Thank you.

    Like

  27. This does not help my situation, reading all this, I have worked since I was 16yrs old and expected to retire at 60 but to be told I have to wait another 6yrs to do this and get MY PENSION. I am furious and so are all of the women in my situation. We were not warned about this, and apparently I have heard from my local MP that us women were informed in a small article somewhere in The Financial Times, well I can tell you, me or my fellow 50’s women don’t read that paper!!! Surprise Surprise , maybe that’s why the government decided to put it in their !! Well I am now 64 and am wishing my life away and can’t wait until I am 66, I work and try and juggle babysitting, I am not as nimble and don’t have the energy I used to have, but heyho if I had plenty of notice about this I would have invested in a private pension!! And not be in this situation. We need compensation, and the Government need to find it one way or another, the person who dealt this blow to us women has took early retirement with a MASSIVE 💰 PAYOUT.

    Like

  28. Absolutely disgusting we have worked hard to be shafted by our government and we are one of the worst countries that do not look after our people at retirement it’s shocking and beyond belief

    Like

  29. Pingback: The Downing Street State Pension Robbery – leftwing nobody

  30. I’m struggling to earn enough money to survive having been laid off at 59. I’m 63 now. Can’t the government compromise and offer us perhaps 50% of what we’ve lost. It would show that this government is not as heartless and MP’s are not as self obsessed as we all believe they are – but care for the communities they say they represent!

    Like

  31. Find it absolutely disgusting I was born 1954 got all my stamps still have to go to work in pain and I thought after life full of problems I would at least enjoy these years but for greedy politicians taking it away goes a bit like this I’m all right jack

    Like

  32. This was picked up by BackTo60 and put on FB this morning. I made a long comment on there which is totally echoed in all the messages here. Any ladies not already following them it’s well worth doing: BackTo60. We are in this together and ALL feeling thoroughly disillusioned and cheated by it all.

    Like

  33. Absolutely shameful the way 50s women are being treated, lets face it by the time you reach your sixties all manor of illnesses start kicking in, and women are expected to still work unbelievable.

    Like

  34. Can this report be sent to the papers it needs to be seen by everyone ! This goverment is vile they are just blameing everything on the elderly , the generation before us saved our country, our generation help rebuild, look after those who saved us in thier later life, paid towards a NHS to look after us in later life and of course our pensions , struggled to buy our own houses but hay lets give it in grants and hand outs to the next generations a generation of takers not givers

    Like

  35. £45000 is what I have lost without all the other women of my age or similar.
    This government has cynically plotted to fill the coffers at our expense….
    Disgusting!!!

    Like

  36. Thanks very much David. Great read. I’m so angry, I’m 62 this year, got over 4 extra years to go. Thieving gits. They’ll get huge pensions, not that they’ll need one. They’ve all go millions! We are the minions, the couldn’t care one not about us.

    Like

    • I hope all the women that are impacted by this do what I will be doing, and that’s voting for anyone but the tories, either at a local or national level.

      Never again will I vote for them, and that includes all my family and children as well. And make it plain to your local Tory MP, councillor that you will be doing this and why.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10

      Like

  37. Pingback: “The Downing Street state pension robbery” | David Hencke | COMRADE BOYCIE

  38. It is an absolute disgrace that 50’s women are suffering under this legislation but that there is always money available to send abroad, when are our own going to be looked after? We send to China and India, we contribute to disaster funds but our own women are being trodden on! We also support out of this fund all the people who come to this country and claim unemployment benefit. What we should be doing is controlling child benefit and limiting it to two chikdren. Why should the taxpayer keep paying out to people who keep reproducing, if they can’t afford them they shouldn’t have them!

    Like

    • I think it is quite unnecessary, and does this cause no favours, to try to shift the blame for the women’s pension injustice onto UKIP territory, implying the issue has anything to do with ‘people who come to this country’, ‘people who keep reproducing’, and funds spent on compassionate care for those in other countries who are at risk. In fact, it appalls me to see such dog whistle politics dragged into this issue. Let’s focus on the real culprits: successive governments who have acted to rob women of the money they had already contributed to their future pensions.

      Like

  39. Once again we are being robbed of our rights and dues because of the rotten core in this and previous governments. Its alright for the politicians to have a huge increase in their pensions but sod all for the actual grafters. We have one of the lowest state pensions and it will get lower, lets stop the rot now.

    Like

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