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The scandal of pensioner poverty

A significant achievement of the last Labour government was a reduction in pensioner poverty.

In 1996/97, 42% of single female pensioners were in poverty while the high point for single male pensioner poverty was 34% in 1997/98.  By 2009 these had fallen to 18% and 14% respectively.

Since 2010, single pensioner poverty has seen once again a systematic rise to 24% for females and 20% for males, and the rise looks set to continue.

Along with rising child poverty, it is a scandal of a decade of austerity.




According to analysis by the Rowntree Trust, a significant cause of rising pensioner poverty is housing costs.  For those in social housing, the poverty rate peaked at 54% in 1996/97, fell to 20% in 2012/13, and has risen back to 31% in 2016/17. For those renting from private landlords, the peak was 46% in 1997/98, and the low point was 27% in 2007/08, before rising back up to 36% in 2016/17.

With so many people set to retire with inadequate pensions, we are likely to see a continuing…

New Year Honours and all that nonsense

I have never been a fan of the honours system. It is the establishment's way of keeping us in order by the potential dispensation of patronage. Frankly the system stinks.

One example of the absurdities of this year's honours is the absence of any recognition given to Andy Murray's Olympic Gold and Silver medals, the US Open and winning Wimbledon. These are no mean achievements. We are told that it is because he already has an OBE awarded only recently. Well we are not actually told anything. That is simply the explanation accepted by the media. Throw a man a penny in order to deny him a shilling!

Perhaps Andy Murray should have adopted the same logic. 'I won't bother to win Wimbledon this year because I only recently won the US Open'.

I suppose I shouldn't get too angry about it. It is the 'great and the good' rewarding the 'great and the good'. But does it matter? I wish I could say it doesn't, but it does.

It seems that in Medicine the best way to get knighthood is to 'deliver' a royal baby. Was it really such a remarkable medical exploit that it should be rewarded with a Knighthood? Apparently so!

My new year's honours go to all those who have worked tirelessly to help those affected by the injustices of Ian Duncan Smith's welfare reforms. Well done all and Happy New Year to you.




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