In hastily cobbling together the disastrous 2011 ‘Stage 2’ of SPA changes, government gratuitously ignored rising 50+ divorce rates that were bound to exacerbate pensioner destitution. As Whiteminster is obviously incompetent, amoral and desperate to pick off ‘easy targets’ for fleecing, the United Kingdom now needs an unaligned alliance to fight with and on behalf of the vulnerable – in all the sizes and all the colours.
Divorce trends among the over 50s in the UK show that, whereas divorce overall has fallen by 2.9% in the last decade, last year’s ONS data also showed that over-50s “silver separators” are the only age group in which splits are rising. Since 1985 in fact, the average age of divorce has risen by over a decade….and that average is being pulled upwards by the exceptionally high rate among over 50s….as this ONS chart shows clearly:
The divorce rate has risen 2.5 times over the period. A new sharply upward trend began in 2009. Sources in Whitehall suggest that this has continued.
None of this is news. With people living longer, staying fitter and having children later, the arrival of the “empty nest” can easily result in one or other partner saying they wish to move on. But whoever the instigator of the divorce is, the result in almost every case is that the wives then become the more dependent on the State Pension, because (as every study shows) it is harder for women to get jobs after 50 than men. Having corresponded with and spoken to a good 40+ Waspis since last January, it is very clear that the overwhelming majority of respondents with the most pressing financial problems have been through this experience: as did my former wife and I.
While I fully accept there are different levels of immediate need involved in the Waspi case, I remain strongly of the view that any sign of compromise by 1950s born women will be seized upon by the DWP/Treasury axis, because the only matter of importance for them is money….or the lack thereof, they having spent it. Whereas Waspis have a simple moral and legal case of principle and embezzlement against the State: you made a promise, we paid you money…you broke the first and you’re delaying the second. End of.
I’m sorry to keep banging on about this, but compromise produced by desperation just weakens that simple case. In legal terms, it ‘prejudices’ it, and that is always important in a court of law. I was hugely impressed by the united Front showed by Waspi at the weekend, now that more proactive people seem to be driving things forward.
The outcome (publicly at least) however remains that the DWP put out a cold, faceless press release that said, basically, we are not budging.
I think we all need to raise our eyes a little and see the bigger issue here.
Government as a continuum has been shown to act mendaciously, incompetently, illegally and amorally in producing the SPA mess they laughably refer to as a reform. But the anti-old bias of the State is such an open and shut case, it should also be extended beyond just one example of pension criminality.
We have now had Zirp globally for eight years. By the time Waspis do pick up their pensions (if ever) they will have been swindled – and yes John Ralfe, that is the only word that fits the bill – out of just over £48,000. Thanks to zero interest rates, over those eight years I have already lost £29,500 in interest – even at the historically modest rate of 3.5%. I have also had my net worth halved by divorce, and been blatantly mis-sold a Scottish Widows Bond that cost me a further £50,000.
The old are in this position because the Government looks the other way from corporate financial crime, allows b2b insurance companies to run consumers into the ground, and will do anything to benefit the banks. Now it has been stuffed by bailing them out – and engaging in pointless QE totalling over half a trillion Pounds – it is coming after the vulnerable to pick up the tab.
Vulnerability is further, as an issue, much broader than bullying of the aged.
Waspis and Junior Doctors are the first victims of this appalling attempt to get the political class – across the spectrum – off the hook. Fail in this first battle, and we shall lose the War.
This is why we need a Vulnerable Citizens’ Alliance across gender, age and social class. I will be providing further evidence of this later today.
And no, Westminster is not going to help with that. I’m sick of trying to engage with narrow-minded, point scoring ideologists suffering from creative constipation: this is something the Citizens need to do for themselves….the politicians gave up trying years ago.