The Editor of this organ is writing not only on his own behalf but also on the behalf of the many other taxpayers who will be reaching the point during this tax year at which they will be able to “celebrate” the 30th anniversary of their 30th birthday.
I remember my 30th birthday. I “celebrated” it (in secret) with some colleagues! It was a Monday lunchtime. We’d had delivered a report to a company in Goole. We had complied it over the previous fortnight. I have to admit to a certain degree of selfishness here. You see, these were colleagues I had recently become acquainted with and our ways would soon part – they were not regular work colleagues. We were in one of Goole’s pubs and I knew full well what the consequence would be if I disclosed it was my birthday. I would have a round of drinks to buy! I was driving – a company Ford Sierra 2.0 Ghia – and was on fruit juice. At least three of the others would have ordered double whiskies – they were Scots! I did not feel like celebrating being 30 and parting with that £20 note in my wallet. I therefore “kept my counsel” and did not tell them!
Oh, by the way, Goole which is at the confluence of the rivers Don and Ouse, is in the West Riding of Yorkshire and NOT the political creation the “so called” East Riding of Yorkshire.
Returning to the present, there are many of us who will be 59 years and 12 months old during this tax year. We have already been advised of four things:
1. We have been told we will be getting the state pension one year later.
2. There is now a requirement to have 35 “qualifying years” of NI contributions in place of the previous 30 years.
3. The government will review these arrangements next year.
4. The government will review these arrangements in 2021.
So our question is this: What can we rely on?
Are we who were born in 1955 going to receive our state pension in 2021? You see, I had a notion to use the extra money for a trip to the USA to travel along Route 66. After all, my name is Rogers and my great grandfather was William Rogers although not of course the Will Rogers of the Will Rogers Highway – as Route 66 is known.
Or, are we going to be told next year that it will not be 2021 but 2022?
And then in 2021, will we find that we are going to have to wait until we reach the biblical “three score years and ten” in 2025?
Then of course there is the state pension itself?
How much of it will we receive?
We have been told to expect something in the region of £7,500 to £8,000 per annum.
The trouble is George, many British Gazette readers do not trust the statements of politicians.
They may harbour a suspicion that faced with the prospect of paying large numbers of retired folk up to £8,000 pa, you and your colleagues will seek to cut this.
Of course, you will not stand up at the dispatch box and use the word CUT. No. You will go to the Commons and declare your intention to REFORM the pension arrangements. To TARGET them more EFFICIENTLY.
We will be perfectly FRANK with you George. What many of our Readers fear is that something along the following lines will be enacted – as a REFORM of course!
That instead of receiving a single state pension the retired person will henceforth receive up to two state pensions! There will be the “Standard Pension” and the “Supplementary Pension.” Added together, those pensioners receiving this will find their total pension has increased!
However, whilst everybody – with the 35 year qualifying contributions – will receive the “Standard Pension” those seeking the “Supplementary Pension” will be subject to a MEANS TEST.
British Gazette readers know full well what is meant by a Means Test: It means if you have saved for your retirement and have a private pension and/or some savings you will not receive the “Supplementary Pension.” On the other hand, those who have been unemployed for most of their lives and have received “Credits” in place of making the NI contributions that British Gazette readers have done will receive both.
So you see George, the question I and many others have to ask ourselves now is this: Is it worth making voluntary contributions to ensure that we have 35 and not 30 years? If you stick to the existing arrangements the answer is Yes. But will you stick to these?
In other words, can we TRUST you?