Group of European Pensioners from Savings Banks and Financial Institutions

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Index of documents > Euromeetings Magazine > Euromeetings Number 3



FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM

 

 

 

The actual situation of our young reflects work insecurity, few possibilities to work for an enterprise during all life, few possibilities of a working life after the age of 50. If it is so, the unfortunate ones are those with private pensions based on savings more than a wage plan, with the possible debased private pension plans and a state pension fixed on the cost of living. If we also add to that annoying list the changes in government politics in order to make the pensions less State depending and more as a personal contribution, we have a scene that should frightened all young people. The intergeneration cooperation means that we, as retired people, have more to offer than to receive. It would be irresponsible to keep our mouth shut when we have so much to contribute. Our task is to warn the young about the dangers of private pensions, and in the United Kingdom this will be easy. Our newspapers are full of terrifying stories about how taxpayers have been fooled about the fees and benefits of private pensions. Various retired people groups have evaluated that only a strong enterprise could stop the continuous erosion of the state pensions. We also think that the young generation must join us in our campaign. As they become more numerous, the retired people are becoming a more considerable politic strength and there are signs that it is just beginning to be understood. If politicians can understand anything it is the power of the vote. We have to inform the young generation that pensions universalization is the only way to eliminate poverty in the third age.

 

The majority of European systems of state pensions depend on a social contract between the generations. Those that normally have a remunerated job pay the pension of those that are retired, with the expectation that when they will be retired future wage earners will contribute in a similar way. The pension is based on a wage system until you are gone. It is not subsidized. Of course, we, the retired, have paid for the anterior generations as a part of our obligation in respecting the contract.

 

We can think that the young have their proper interest in defending decent pensions for the retired. Maybe the most significant interest is that they want a decent standard of living for their parents and grandparents. But we can’t guarantee that since a majority of young and elderly support the intergenerational solidarity this standard of living is safe.

 

The government politics, in any country, that increase the individual responsibility for the pensions at the expense of the community responsibility, are threatening the relations between generations. The population is getting older and the pensions are continuously presented as a “charge”. You have certainly heard the argument that since people live longer and they don’t have fulltime work, the payments to the social security are unbearable. This is now universally known as “the demographic time bomb”, and it is used in order to justify cuts in the social security levels without caring about the elderly who have paid their contribution according to the national insurance scheme during their labour life.

 

I believe that we are perfectly prepared to make an important contribution. We know the value of good health and financial means sufficient for retirement. We have considerable experience about the financial industry. We are Europeans and it is on that basis that we compare. With the settlement of the intergeneration Foundations I hope we will be able to commission research. Many organizations have a section for the young and one for the retired. I don’t personally know anyone with the purpose of joining both young and elderly. We are then facing an exciting prospect.

 

Above all, I believe that we should not have any doubt about proclaiming our message. Maybe there would be some advantages for us, already retired, but the major beneficiaries would probably be our sons and grandsons. Isn’t this worth fighting for?

 

 

Barry INGHAM

President of TSB Bank Retired Staff Association Manchester Region