A Whaley Bridge trade unionist is urging people to back a campaign to keep all universal age-related benefits such as the bus pass after a study showed the UK’s OAPs make a net contribution to the economy – despite having among the worst state pensions in Europe.
The North West Regional Pensioners Association says cutting such benefits was a smokescreen used by both politicians to introduce a means-test which would result in support being withdrawn from all nine million older people with an income above just £7,500 – the level of the Pension Credit.
Unite official Joe Bush says the report also shows that revenue collected by the state from older people adds up to a staggering £175.8bn every year – while total expenditure on older people through pensions, welfare payments and health care is £136.2bn. The annual net contribution by older people to the economy is almost £40bn — and is estimated to rise to almost £75bn by 2030 – more than enough to pay for the £8bn worth of age related benefits that are now under threat.
Mr Bush said: “This idea that the country’s economy is struggling because an army of millionaire pensioners are joy-riding with their free bus passes is absolute nonsense. The economic crisis is being used as an excuse to undermine the welfare state and roll back some of our hard-earned gains — many of which are necessary because the UK has one of the worst state pensions in Europe.”
lA full copy of the report can be downloaded from www.nocuk.orq