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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…

Saving the world from itself

It is reported that US Secretary of State John Kerry is to issue a clarion call for more 'global action' on climate change. This is all well and good but there isn't a 'global body' that can take 'global action'. There are economies competing in a 'global market'. How that translates into 'global action' against climate change I cannot see. Persuading individual countries that they are the ones that need to make a sacrifice for the sake of saving the world is very difficult. For the most part the West has already contributed its share of global emissions. Their damage is done. Now developing countries will have to be persuaded that there are better ways to economic growth and prosperity.


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