donkeys

British citizens are being treated like they are donkeys. But at least donkeys get a sanctuary

300,000 Britons who bought a fixed income for life with their retirement savings were misled about a product known as an “enhanced” annuity, which pays out more for people who have a shorter life expectancy. They didn’t realise that they were entitled to such an annuity in the first place because they were at high risk of early death based on the healthcheck. Those who made it through the tape without keeling over appear to have been, um, not given their extra dosh, as such.

Now news is slowly leaking out that an FCA review of eight unnamed pension suppliers has raised serious concerns about provider honesty; as in, a lack of it.

Although nobody is commenting (would you?) Standard Life, Aviva, Friends Life, Prudential, Legal & General and Aegon are all tipped to be on the blacklist. The Hateful Eight make up around 70% of the UK annuity market: so the ‘just a few rogues’ bollocks used to excuse criminals from Newscorp to HSBC via the Met Police and Goldman Sachs doesn’t wash.

Those scammed by this latest example of ethical atrophy should not expect any defence from a Conservative Government: rabid deregulators like Daniel ‘let’s get fracking’ Hannan’s hold views that add up to a sort of sociopathic mélange of caveat emptor, and “well the regulators don’t catch anyone, so let’s abolish them”. Smashing: one in four murders remain unsolved, so let’s decriminalise murder.

If this strikes you as a melodramatic Leftie prediction rather than a fact, I should inform you that (a) I am not a Leftie – the furthest across the spectrum I ever went was the SDP in 1985 – and (b) the Dark Knights of Camerlot have form in this area. Less than three weeks ago The Slog posted about tens of thousands of people across the UK and abroad who were told by conmen using sophisticated tactics that they could access their British pensions tax-free thanks to a legal loophole – but the money disappeared, and the majority  lost their entire lifetime savings.

Not only did the ‘Government’ who introduced the liberation scheme do nothing to help the victims – all of whom are in the mire thanks to very poorly drafted legislation – they compounded the cock-up by issuing tax assessment letters for the sums concerned at 55% on a pot they don’t have. Jonathan Swift, eat your heart out.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But roughly how much of whatever meagre pension you wind up with are you ever likely to ‘enjoy’? Well, This in Money (still one of the best sites for the average saver) reports that young people will have to work and save non-stop from age 22 until they hit 77 to get a pension of the kind earlier generations enjoyed. The new analysis – compiled by
pension firm Royal London – suggests that anyone starting work now (if they took a break for any, you know, feeble reason like reproduction) could easily be into their early 80s before they had a halfway decent pension pot from which to draw down.

Regular Sloggers will know I am no supporter of feminism in its currently perverted form; but here are three obvious extrapolations from this news:

  1. It is blatantly sexist and misogynist
  2. As people live longer (thanks to the potty allocation of medical research funds to longevity research) the problem can only get worse….as the shrinking pot has to last longer AND pay for geriatric support
  3. With the 3% demanding 76,392 for them and 0.76392 for us, pension institutions will be slowly stripped of fair returns….when they’re not too busy cheating their savers to notice.

The problem with ‘the death of retirement’ – the latest ‘warning’ from the morally bereft – is that nobody wants to face up to the retirement of Death. The medical God complex, the rape of labour by capital, and the near-universal acceptance of genocidal ethics will combine to create a planet covered in people with nowhere near enough safe water to drink, and zero expectation of any quality whatsoever in their eternally delayed eternal retirement.

It’s going to be a Brave New Solent Green World. Unless the 3% with a spinning moral compass give up their greed-fest and the species as a whole accepts the tough imperatives of resource and population.

Failing that, the only way out is for lots of us to hitch a ride on Einstein’s newly-confirmed EMG Time-ripple Tours© offer.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Meanwhile, the battle to raise awareness of The Big UK Pension Welch (in which the DWP and the Treasury have joined forces to defraud 1950s female babies) continues. The well-attended Commons debate (graced by a wonderful speech from SNP MP Mhairi Black) having been held on 7 January, the Government’s Dickensian response remains that of Mr Gradgrind…with some pathetic self-pity from Ros Altmann thrown in for good measure.

The retirement-destroying changes to the female state pension age were communicated first of all with devious incompetence, and then compounded by mendacious claims that universal knowledge had preceded the changes. Those demonstrably nonsensical claims made by civil servants and MPs enjoying taxpayer-funded gold-plated pensions have turned deservedly into a PR nightmare. Equally  demonstrable, however is the fact that at least 75,000 women born after April 1951 are now in very dire financial straits indeed. (Where, we ask ourselves, is the Unite-Union generously pensioned former Minister for Wimmin Hattie Harmperson in all this? Why, in retirement…where else would such a privileged Labour bourgeois be?)

Today, however, there is a well-reasoned and gracefully written article at Moneymarketing by Steve Bee. Some will find his conclusions a tad apologetic, but for myself I read the piece and gained the impression of a good and decent man doing his best to make the Camerlot Knights somewhat bumsore in their saddles. He writes (my emphases):

‘It seems to me the Government is keen to talk proudly of the pension freedoms it has introduced but fails to see the irony in those freedoms only applying to private pensions. The millions relying on the state pension are still in chains. But why?

The Government cannot afford to give money away but it does not have to. There must be sensible and creative ways it could amend the social contract between it and its citizens by extending new freedoms to the state pension system…..One avenue that should be explored is to allow all people to draw their state pension from age 60, not at the full rate but at an actuarially reduced rate.’

The main thing I like about this idea is that it fires a 90mph ace tennis ball to put the DWP/Treasury pinched goblins one game down, and with no leg to stand on.

Earlier at The Slog: Why taking part in this stock market rally is folly