Eclectic Blue

Talk talk

Comments Off on Talk talk 08 May 2018

Whilst we might not all welcome the suggestions from the Resolution Foundation about taxing more affluent pensioners and giving the young better opportunities, at least we are at long last having a debate about it. A dire phone-in on BBC Radio Five Live this morning gave the impression it was all about taxing the old and giving generous handouts to the young. It is not.

In any event, it’s about time we had a new social contract about the way forward. Here are some simple facts:

* People are on average living longer
* More people living longer means loads of pressure on social care and the NHS
* Someone will have to pay for it
* Should we keep kicking the subject into the long grass?

None of the changes so far have been subject to consultation with the electorate. George Osborne did not ask us whether he minded stealing many thousands of pounds from people by making them retire later. I’m still livid about it and this is one reason why decisions cannot be made without asking us.

How is it fair that when people work hard and play fair, they retire and then get dementia and lose everything they have scrimped and saved for? At the moment, there is no alternative because every time it does get discussed, the Daily Mail, for example, screams about a potential death tax being inflicting on us. Andy Burnham came out with a very sensible idea when he was still in parliament. The wrath of the Mail has terrified everyone, so now everyone loses.

It should not be a question of young versus old, although the result of the EU referendum still grates with the younger generation who have been shafted by mine. We seem happy, as a society, to throw our young people into huge debt by going to university, we shed crocodile tears when young, and not so young, people can’t get on the housing ladder at all and we seem content to allow millions of young people to enter low paid, insecure work with no hope of a meaningful future.

The truth is that we’ve all been shafted and we’ve all been convinced that everything comes for free. We’ve been conditioned to think that all taxes are wrong and that we don’t believe in paying for anything because we’ve paid in enough already. And it’s mainly because politicians don’t have the nerve to tell the truth.

We need to deal with the social care crisis, we need a new contract which ensures that those who work hard and play by the rules don’t lose everything if they go into care, we need to stop overloading the financial crisis on the young and we want to ensure that pensioners are not penalised for being thrifty. Those of us who are doing well will have to pay a lot more and most of us will have to pay a bit more in order to make it a fairer country.

Above all, we need to talk about it. And soon.

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