Are the Tories trying to lose? First they fall out over Europe, then they take on the grey vote. Over 50s are numerous, organised, informed and above all – they vote. So why antagonise them by fast trackinhg the increase in the age of retirement.? This will damage the pension calculations of hundreds of thousands of silver surfers due to retire in the next six years and it hits women in particular and for very little saving in public spending.
It will hit the poorest pensioners the hardest since they are more dependent on the basic state pension. Most middle class people regard the state pension as a nugatory addition to their private provision. But there are still millions who retire on nothing but the state provision. In Scotland, it is particularly mean since in many constituencies in Glasgow, a lot of men die before they reach the existing pension age, let alone the new one.
It looks as if the old – the most responsible and vulnerable citizens – are being punished for the greed culture of the City of London. By all means axe and tax the pensions of the likes of Sir Fred Goodwin of RBS; cap the pensions of all those public sector bureaucrats who are sitting on million plus pensions for dong nothing but push a pen around for forty years. The Tories could have means tested the state pension for those under 70 and made the same savings without targeting the poorest in society.
But this ill-thought-out and mean-spirited move will damage David Cameron I think this is a major error by the Tories, equivalent to Gordon Brown’s disastrous 75p pension increase in 2000 that caused an electoral backlash. Or his abolition of the 10 p tax band which still causes Labour trouble on the doorsteps. British voters have a keen sense of fair play, and this move will be seen as thoughtles, heartless and economically illiterate