Enter the new stealth tax

Around 600,000 people are expected to be enrolled into a workplace pension scheme by the end of the year – that  automatically diverts funds from their pay packet.

The automatic enrolment scheme begins on 1 October and will mark one of the biggest changes to the pension system in the UK. A worker can opt out. But at age 65, he or she is going to starve, because there won’t be a State pension by then.

They will, however, continue being forced to cough up for National Insurance as well. Which, one day soon I’d guess, isn’t going to be much use if you get ill…and will pay out less as and when Britain’s vibrant economy unemploys you.

It will start with the largest firms, and then trickle down or something to the already investment-loan starved small businesses beneath. And workers will pay more – 25% more – than employers do.

The BBC’s penetratingly mordant analysis of the move is:

‘The aim is for more people to save for their retirement, rather than relying solely on the state pension’.

In many ways, I’m all for coercive retirement saving: it means everyone has to accept responsibility for being independent in the long term. But what’s happening here is simply another step in the process of impoverished sovereign Treasuries gradually retreating from their responsibility to provide a State pension.

If this was being done in a measured manner during the good times, to ensure everyone had a supplement above and beyond the ‘old age’ State Pension, I’d applaud that too. But it isn’t: the move is a shift of responsibility – and power – away from the State to big business….in the light of previous megabank bailouts and a ballooning National Debt making it a cast-iron certainty that the State pension will be abolished.

As with health provision, The Slog believes that retirement saving should indeed be taken out of State hands – but put into a ring-fenced mutual sector where it is safe from that safe pair of hands suddenly emptying the safe.

Well, that clearly isn’t going to happen. But as yet, what is going to happen (as with all things emanating from Camerlot) remains rather murky. How will the providers be regulated? What will happen to the folks who – thanks to long-term illness and neocon employment practices – end up unemployed from 40 to 65? Sorry, 70. Or will it be 80 by then?

It’s enough to make you weep. This isn’t the careful dismantling of a bloated State: it’s the accelerating attempt to kill a starving State – and ensure that its weaker citizens pay the insane bills run up by the 3% of MoUs at the top.

And these conclusions don’t make me a socialist: nothing could do that. They just make me a bloke who can see what’s coming down the road, and the obscene unfairness of it all.

A phrase one hears more and more these days is ‘the Law of unintended consequences’. What we’re getting more and more in the West now is laws with intended consequences.

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