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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…

Brexit and the bogeyman

So, here we are, still. No further forward and time running out. Boris has met Merkel and that French president bloke, Macron (a very tasty name, like a macaroon). Boris went firmly stating that they (THEY) 'drop the backstop', to which they deftly replied: "you come up with a solution to the problem and we will drop the backstop!" Boris accepted the challenge to do so in 30 days. It sounds almost biblical. In 30 days he shall make heaven on earth! 



What this demonstrates is that Boris doesn't have a solution to the backstop problem, any more than did Mrs May. If he had such a solution he would have presented it.

He also acknowledges that there is a problem. The backstop wasn't invented to spite us. It was invented (if that is the right term) because of the Good Friday agreement and the peace process. Most of us think peace in Northern Ireland is important and the kind of Brexit we have is important. This is why we need a deal. This is why Boris is trying to get one...or not as the case may be. Will he, won't he? Let's call the whole thing off!

Some cynics believe he is simply trying to pass the blame for no-deal to the EU. "It was all his fault, Miss. He punched me first!" That kind of tactic. This is the EU as a bogeyman story.

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