Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

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Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

Post  eddie on Sun May 15, 2011 11:14 am

Fifth of poor men 'die before 65'

Press Association

Apr 20th 2011 at 3:00AM

Nearly a fifth of the UK's poorest men die before they receive the state pension and the situation is set to get worse if the Government presses ahead with plans to raise the age at which people qualify for it, a Labour MP has warned.

Around 19% of men from the lowest social classes, such as manual labourers, cleaners and packers, die before they reach 65, compared with just 7% of men from the highest social group, according to research for former pensions minister Malcolm Wicks.

Women from poorer backgrounds are also twice as likely to die before they qualify for the state pension, with 10% of the poorest women dying before they reach 60, compared with just 4% of those who are better off, it found.

Even among those who do live long enough to draw their state pension, poorer workers still tend to receive less money than richer ones, as they typically have lower life expectancy.

A 65-year-old man in the lowest social class is expected to live for an average of four years less than one in the highest social class, with a life expectancy at retirement of 14.1 years compared with 18.3 years for someone better off, said Mr Wicks.

The life expectancy gap for women of different social classes is also just over four years.

Mr Wicks warned that increasing the state pension age to 66 by 2020, and then to 68 in future, would hit those from the lowest social classes the hardest.

He said a failure to take on board the life expectancies of people in different social classes would result in injustice.

He said: "A pension penalty is often paid by those from the lowest social classes, people whose work involves labouring jobs, driving vans, packing and cleaning etc. Some die before pension age, while others enjoy fewer pension years.

"These are people in the main who left school at 15 or 16 and have been in the labour market ever since. By their 60s many of them are worn out and simply need the rest that retirement can offer."

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Re: Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

Post  ISN on Sun May 15, 2011 3:00 pm


"These are people in the main who left school at 15 or 16 and have been in the labour market ever since. By their 60s many of them are worn out and simply need the rest that retirement can offer."

that is so sad and such an injustice - these are the people that build our cities and clean our houses.....

it would be nice to think that people who are so worn out from their hard work would get a little bit of rest or a cruise or two before they die

I suppose it's the same in America

and a lot of those people would not be white or if they are they'd be Polish or Mediterranean or Eastern European.....

this fukking world is fukked up

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Re: Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

Post  Lee Van Queef on Sun May 15, 2011 3:32 pm

I haven't the time to check the statistics that this article refers to, but I can't see how the stats are correct.

Life expectancy statistics in the press are often confused to say the least. Usually, they get very muddled between 'life expectancy' and 'healthy life expectancy'. So then people in poor areas in the UK have to read articles telling them they will die at 50 and that life expectancy in Iraq or wherever is better than where they live. All incorrect.

The point still stands, but just sayin'. What a Face

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Re: Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

Post  eddie on Sun May 15, 2011 5:05 pm

You're Looking Very Well by Lewis Wolpert – review

The older people get, the older they believe 'old' to be

Will Self The Guardian, Saturday 30 April 2011


Young at heart ... people who have a negative view of old age die younger. Photograph: © Corbis

A couple of weeks ago I spoke at a seminar on ageing and fiction at Brunel University. My interlocutor was Fay Weldon, who in her 80th year is not only still writing herself, but also holds the chair in creative writing at Brunel. I'm not sure we had anything that insightful to say on the subject, but the audience seemed entertained. I hesitate to ascribe to Weldon the wisdom of the aged – because, inasmuch as she is weightily wise, she always leavens this with a wickedly dry wit; and besides, she seemed exactly the same to me as the first time I met her, which must have been 15 years ago, when she was a mere stripling of 65.


You're Looking Very Well: The Surprising Nature of Getting Old by Lewis Wolpert

No, what struck me about the seminar was that when the discussion was thrown open to the audience – the vast majority of whom had either grey or white hair – we were asked whether or not we felt it was the responsibility of contemporary writers to present a positive depiction of old age. I demurred – and so did Weldon: both of us thought the character made their own weather, for good or ill. To purposely concoct older characters of a sunny disposition would be as much of a solecism as deliberately fabricating arrhythmic blacks, spendthrift Jews, slacker Japanese and so on. These replies didn't satisfy the questioner, who seemed to feel that such was the extent and depth of ageism any means of combating it had to be considered.

Having now read Lewis Wolpert's chilling little book on old age You're Looking Very Well, I'm more inclined to agree with the snowy owls of Brunel. Of course, I knew ageism existed, and Wolpert's mournful catalogue of the abuses and depredations to which many of the elderly are subjected – neglected in care homes, denied adequate medical treatment, effectively denied benefits by Kafkaesque bureaucracy, lost in the atemporal fugue of Alzheimer's – wasn't unfamiliar; but there was something salutary about seeing it put down in cold print – seeing it clearly through the reading glasses I now wear since, a year or two ago, my age-related macular degeneration got under way.

And that was the other surprising thing about the Brunel seminar: when I tried to muscle in on the twilight territory, by saying I was 49, and therefore well into middle age, first one, then a second and eventually a whole section of the audience pooh-poohed the notion. Forty-nine wasn't middle aged, they said – hell, even 59 barely qualified. Wolpert wouldn't have been at all surprised by this, as he makes clear: the gruel of the toothless is an oddly moveable feast, and the older people get, the older they believe "old" to be. We mostly know this intuitively, but repress it effectively, because it draws our attention to the extent to which, in the modern western societies, "acting our age" is something that requires an enormous suspension of disbelief.

As for portraying older people in an unkind light, I'm not sure I'll be doing that any more from now on in. A statistic Wolpert likes so much he cites it twice is that younger people who have a negative view of old age die younger. Yup, that's right, that spunky young bin man whose YouTube rap sensation condemns the health secretary, Andrew Lansley (born in 1956), as a "grey-haired manky old codger" is cutting short his lifespan just as surely as if he were sucking on a crack pipe while leaping Becher's Brook. Actually, I'm not sure that's really the case – and Wolpert (born in 1929), a distinguished developmental biologist and emeritus professor, should know better than most that by no means all statistical correlations are causal ones. Still, perhaps there's something about old age that brings out the statistician in people – which would explain the age profile of Wisden's readership, if nothing else.

You're Looking Very Well is larded with stats – a not inappropriate trope, given that many of them establish the incontrovertible truth that if you want to live to a ripe old age you're better off not being a lardy-arse. It's also a survey of ageing and old age which, somewhat counter-intuitively, moves along at a brusque trot; its chapters have snappy titles – "Surprising", "Ageing", "Forgetting", "Living", "Curing" – and each page has enough factoids to pepper a PowerPoint presentation by a private healthcare provider pitching to a primary care trust. (One vile piece of information new to me was that when it comes to caring for the elderly, the preferred NHS contracting method is for companies to underbid each other, thus ensuring that the winner will be the one willing to treat its clients as cheap as chips.)

Given the hoodoo Wolpert put on any reviewer below a certain age, I hesitate to introduce a critical note . . . but there is something rather rushed about all this – almost as if he wanted his book to stay fit and active, the better to aspire to posterity. There are plenty of cultural references – from the myth of Tithonos to VS Pritchett's introduction to Muriel Spark's Memento Mori and back again – but I never really felt Wolpert was at home with the non-scientific aspects of organic entropy; whereas when he comes to writing about the biology of ageing he waxes very lucid indeed. His overview of the scientific evidence is compelling, readable, and ultimately stark (unless you're a wacko creationist): evolution cares only for reproduction, and once we've reached the optimal age for spawning, it's downhill from there on in, as the body effectively starts to give up on repairing cellular damage.

Wolpert says he's surprised to discover he's 82, and quotes Oscar Wilde's apothegm "The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young." But I confess I found his bafflement a little hard to grasp – he also notes Roger Daltrey's notorious plaint "I hope I die before I get old", but it's very difficult to imagine Wolpert bending to the 1960s zephyr of change, let alone having a bop. For surely it's only with the coming-of-old-age of the postwar babyboomers that old age has become such a looking-glass world. Fifty or a hundred years ago the way-stations from birth to – usually premature – death were well-marked. I very much doubt that back then fiftysomethings had to suspend disbelief in their age, whereas now they need a great deal of coaxing to put denim aside and pick up their carpet slippers.

I think the force of Wilde's observation comes from its prescience. With The Picture of Dorian Gray Wilde formulated the modern myth of narcissistic eternal youth – gay men, decoupled from any ability to procreate, would be its avant garde. But with the advent of effective contraception, heterosexuals became able to convince themselves that they, too, should never really age – this is the cultural expression of the great demographic alterations of the 20th century. Just as the blurring between childhood and adulthood has produced the kidult, so the stretching of middle into old age has fostered another peculiar chimera: septuagenarians with apoptosis sporting the dépêche mode.

Wolpert, while he skates over the ethical issues implicit in the rapidly accelerating demographic timebomb (on current trends, by 2050 there'll be a near 1:1 ratio of productive workers and the elderly in western societies), still takes an oppressively utilitarian view of it all. So long, he says, as we can have decent standards of care, and an expanding economy, everything in the garden will be rosy. Personally, the prospect of Britain as an enormous if well run care home fills me with dread – indeed, it makes me come over all Roger Daltrey. Luckily, according to the audience at Brunel, I'm still young enough for such heretical hopes.

Will Self's Walking to Hollywood is published by Bloomsbury.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2011

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Re: Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

Post  ISN on Mon May 16, 2011 2:51 pm

I've never read anything by Will Self.....I'm surprised how brilliant his style of writing is......(he used to get a bit of bad press in London)

compared to that awful thing Iain Banks wrote, Will Self's writing is sublime

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Re: Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

Post  Constance on Mon May 16, 2011 3:32 pm

My library system doesn't have Wolpert's book on aging, too bad! But it does have his Malignant Sadness: A History of Depression.

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Re: Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

Post  eddie on Mon May 16, 2011 9:03 pm

Apart from the annoying dental work, the most difficult thing I've had to come to terms with in my mid-'50's is the abdominal bulge.

I've always been pretty wiry, but now I find myself looking down and going affraid : "What the fuck is THAT??" My bulge is not of particularly extravagant proportions- I hasten to add- but, never having had one before, it's a bit disconcerting.

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Re: Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

Post  eddie on Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:49 am

Union boss predicts strike victory

June 18, 2011


A massive gathers in Hyde Park for a meeting during the General Strike, 1926.

Britain will see its biggest wave of industrial action since the 1926 general strike in the wake of Government pension reforms, the leader of the largest public sector union has said.

Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison, made the comments as furious unions threatened to walk away from talks over coalition plans to require most public sector employees to work longer and pay more for less generous entitlements in retirement.

He told the Guardian: "It will be the biggest since the general strike. It won't be the miners' strike. We are going to win."

On Friday the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander provoked fury by warning public sector workers it would be a "colossal mistake" to reject a deal that was the best they could hope for.

The reforms include increasing the general retirement age in the public sector from 60 to 66, moving from a final salary system to benefits based on career-average earnings and raising contributions by an average 3.2%.

But Mr Alexander insisted that those on the lowest incomes would not have to pay any more and that low and middle earners would get roughly the same benefits as they do now.

The GMB threatened to pull out of talks altogether, as union chiefs accusing him of trying to sabotage negotiations by announcing details of the Government's position to the media.

Mr Prentis, whose union has more than 1.3 million members, said the country should brace itself for "rolling action over an indefinite period" until workers get their message across.

He told the newspaper: "I strongly believe that one day of industrial action will not change anyone's mind in government. We want to move towards a settlement. The purpose of industrial action is not industrial action, it is to get an agreement that is acceptable and long-lasting.

"But we are prepared for rolling action over an indefinite period. This coalition has got to open its eyes and see that in just reacting to a Daily Mail view of the public sector they are walking into a trap of their own making."

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Re: Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

Post  eddie on Mon Jun 20, 2011 1:03 pm

My acerbic friend and work colleague George plans to retire to the West Country (Devonshire) when London Underground sheds most of its remaining staff after the London 2012 Olympic and- a latter-day Diogenes- live in a tub:


The Great Vats- Gustave Dore.

George is quite serious about this- and he's a good carpenter.

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Re: Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

Post  eddie on Tue Nov 22, 2011 4:53 pm

Cold kills 180 British pensioners a day during winter
By Adam Parris-Long

Yahoo! News


180 pensioners died every day as a result of cold conditions during the 2010-11 winter months in England and Wales.

The annual ‘Excess winter mortality’ report found that an estimated 21,800 people over the age of 65 died as a result of adverse conditions, on top of the average mortality rate for the same period of time (4 months from December 2010 to March 2011).

Over-65s accounted for 84% of the overall 25,700 ‘excess’ deaths during the winter months.

“The numbers of excess winter deaths are a disgrace,” said Michelle Mitchell, charity director of Age UK. “We like to think of ourselves as a civilised society which protects the most vulnerable but the numbers of older people who do not survive the winter here is far higher than most European countries where the weather is far colder.

“These deaths are the tip of an iceberg of illness, misery and anxiety which grips Britain every winter,” she added. “The Government must do more to tackle fuel poverty and ensure that housing is better insulated.”

Latest estimates from the Hills Review suggest that 4.1 million homes in Britain are living in fuel poverty – being forced to spend over 10% of household income to keep a “satisfactory” heating condition. Fresh concerns have also emerged over the rise of energy prices over recent months as EDF, British Gas, npower, Scottish Power, Scottish and Southern Energy and E. ON have all hiked prices- taking the average household energy bill up £161.

“Many of our poorest pensioners, families and disabled people, put their health at risk by having to choose between heating their homes or putting food on the table this winter,” said Audrey Gallacher, director of energy at Consumer Focus. “This is one of the most pressing and neglected concerns facing the government’s energy strategy.

“Recent energy price hikes have left fuel poverty levels soaring, with energy bills almost double what they were five years ago,” she added. “With around nine million people in England living in fuel poverty under the current measure, this has been a running sore for successive governments and we desperately need a coherent plan to address it.”

Consumer Focus estimates that the spike in energy prices could see 5.1 million homes facing fuel poverty.

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Re: Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

Post  eddie on Sun Nov 27, 2011 9:24 pm

A massive strike by public sector workers over government changes to their pensions is looming. On Wednesday 30 November schools, hospitals, benefit offices etc are likely to be affected as millions withdraw their labour.

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Re: Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

Post  pinhedz on Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:42 am

eddie wrote:Cold kills 180 British pensioners a day during winter
Throughout history, cold has always killed more people than heat.

That people are so afraid of warmth nowadays is a new phenomenon.

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Re: Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

Post  eddie on Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:06 am

Why you should support the pensions strike

By Ian Dunt
Talking Politics

Yahoo! News Blog



Before you decide you're against this strike, ask yourself one simple question.

You'll have trouble dropping off your children at school next Wednesday. If you're taken ill, you may have trouble getting an appointment in hospital. The rubbish might not be collected. The fire service might be disrupted.

Up to two million public sector workers will be out on strike, probably the most widespread industrial action this country has seen since the winter of discontent. At first you'll be angry. Your already stressful day will have been made even more difficult by people you rely on. But before you decide you're against this strike please ask yourself one question: would you care if a banker went on a walkout?

I'll go ahead and presume your answer was no. The very fact that this strike inconveniences you demonstrates the value of the public sector. These are the people who look after us; our children, our property and our streets. Their reward is to be libelled every day in the press for their 'gold-plated pensions'. Their demands for their employer to abide by the terms of their original contract are treated like special interest pleading. Private sector workers are propagandised against them, encouraged to desire public sector impoverishment rather than to fight for their own working conditions to be improved. The classic tactic of divide and rule is alive and well in the British class system.

That's not the case for all those people whose labour accomplishes nothing, apart from the occasional sabotage of the world economy. Executive pay rises ever upwards, regardless of results. The recent Fair Pay Commission report found the top Barclays salary rose 4,899.4% since 1980, compared to a threefold increase in its average wages. Thomas Cook, which is doing so well it is now staring into the abyss, was paying chief executive Manny Fontenla-Novoa £2.27 million last year, including a £1.19 million performance bonus and £338,000 in share options.

What about the government negotiating team, which so reasonably asks public sector workers to accept their "extremely generous" offer? An average public sector worker would need to work for three lifetimes to earn Francis Maude's pension and two for Danny Alexander's. They would have to work 124 years to get a pension equal to what local government secretary Eric Pickles would earn - but only if he quits at the next general election. If he sticks around it would take much longer.

For the rich, this country is a socialist utopia, where losses are nationalised and any criticism of their wealth is brushed off with self-serving arguments about talent-flight. For the poor, it is pure, brutal capitalism, a race to the bottom to attract international capital and satisfy the credit rating agencies.

Banking reform has been kicked into the long grass. The 50p tax rate is discussed every day in hushed, serious tones, as if it were a significant moral failure. A paltry 0.05% on transactions like stocks, bonds, foreign currency and derivatives is met with the argument that it must be implemented multilaterally — but David Cameron makes no effort to negotiate with Asian or US governments. Corporation tax is cut. Employment regulations are weakened in the bosses' favour. The prime minister's only achievement from talks with Angela Merkel is to remove us from the working time directive.

The injustice is so plain, the system so evidently rigged, that the government has used every tool in its arsenal to prevent anyone drawing the obvious conclusions. Its much-publicised move on accrual rates and cost ceilings does nothing to prevent the lowest paid workers, such as part-time nurses, bearing the brunt of the Hutton-proposed reforms. It relies on the Hutton report to show how essential reform is, but the report showed the long-term cost of public sector pensions is falling as a percentage of GDP. Our deficit is not, as the government would have you believe, the result of a bloated public sector. It is, as the IMF itself admits, a product of "revenue losses associated with output losses from the financial crisis". There's no reason to hammer down public sector costs in response. Morally and economically, we shouldn't make those who did nothing to cause the crisis pay for it.

The government argued that union votes for strike action were invalid because of a low turnout (typically around 25%). Of course, no such moral standard applies to MPs themselves, who rarely, if ever, win over 50% of the popular vote in their constituency. The sight of the same MPs who campaigned against AV condemning strike votes on the basis of low turnout has to be one of the most laughably hypocritical spectacles in all of Westminster.

According to a YouGov survey from last weekend, 52% of people oppose the strike while 35% support it. It's a majority, but a relatively slim one given that the full range of political and press propaganda is weighed against public sector workers and their modesty demands. That percentage should increase. The people striking next week are some of the most valuable workers in our society. Their value is not monetary. It is social. They deserve better than a hounding from the press, a libel from the government and our own moral indifference.

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Re: Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

Post  felix on Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:54 am

^ Hear, hear!

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Re: Bad news for skint UK citizens in their 50's

Post  Nah Ville Sky Chick on Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:15 pm

^

Yes, everybody OUT!!

Makes me laugh when the Government say about disruption that will be caused to parents next Wednesday. What about all the inset says throughout the year where parents have to arrange to take time off work/childcare so that teachers can have training. What about everytime there is 1 inch of snow and the schools have to close.

This Governent dosen't have a clue.

rant rant rant Evil or Very Mad

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