Yesterday TEKJournalism reported on the UK budget. The budget included a new target, UK pensioners. Details of just how they were going to be hit were sketchy. It was one announcement that surprised many in Parliament and the UK. It had not been leaked beforehand as so many other changes had.
So how will pensioners be affected?
The change will cut tax allowances for retired people. Currently these are a little more generous than for the working population. The current level of tax relief for those people who are retired has been in place since 1925, when Winston Churchill introduced a "retired tax relief" to help older people.
Retired people tend to have more heft fuel bills, as one example of the need for such relief. At home all day and in some cases feeling the cold it is vital that they heat their homes thoroughly. Less mobile at times there are also increased costs such as taxis for hospital appointments, the need to pay for help around the home and so on.
We should never forget that the bulk of retired people in the UK have also paid year on year taxes and national insurance contributions. Some will have had a good life and so a comfortable retirement. Many may not have been so lucky. Ill health is just one factor which could lead to poverty in old age.
Even George Osborne's Treasury has admitted that the budget changes will leave pensioners at least £80 a year worse off. Add to this the increasing cost of living and they will lose out much more. When you already have a small income any reduction will hit hard. Whether Treasury figures are correct is open to opinion. According to Labour the change will leave pensioners around £300 a year worse off. Of course there could still be further cuts to pensions in later budgets.
SkyNews has reported that "The Chancellor insists changing pensioners' income tax allowances will simplify the tax system, but Treasury officials admit it will raise around £1bn a year and £3.3bn over three years." Nice pickings which will help fund the budget hand outs to the wealthy of the UK.
So how will the changes work I hear you ask? "Osborne is proposing that for people aged 65-74 their income tax allowances will be frozen at £10,500. For those aged 75 and over it will be frozen at £10,660. And from April 2013, those turning 65 will have a tax-free allowance of £9,205, bringing them into line with the working population. Treasury officials admit that 4.5 million pensioners will be affected, losing about £80 a year on average, though those people about to retire will lose £197. But those figures are challenged by opponents" And so they should be.
Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said "You thought from the Chancellor this was going to simplify personal allowances for pensioners in a way that would make it clearer to people who are confused. You didn't realise, in his speech, unless you know what you're talking about, he was actually announcing a tax rise."
Yes this is why for many including those on the Shadow front bench confusion reigned. At first hearing it sounded hunky dory. However you could see the opposition trying to figure this one out. Masked in Tory wording it was not obvious immediately. Spin is alive and well even in the Budget delivery.
OPINION: So there you have it. A budget to reward work but not those who have worked all their lives. Part of a bigger plan it seems to this blogger. First let's make everyone work longer. Up the retirement age so that these changes will affect them. Make work the only way to survive. Let's make sure that those at the lower end of the work force have to work until they drop.
Now we, the Coalition, want to make a start on reducing the 50p wealth tax and also want to increase the child benefit cut off point. Hitting pensioners will be the Coalitions win win factor. It will incense people so much that the CB and wealth tax will be overshadowed. It will help fund the money lost by these positive changes for the more wealthy in the UK.
It has not escaped any person in the UK that the front bench of the UK Coalition all stand to personally gain a great deal of money.
You may be asking don't pensioners count? Wont their votes matter? Well no. After all the number of pensioners is set to dwindle as more UK citizens work until they drop. Add to this the happy bunnies who have personally gained at the expense of pensioners and Osborne is on to a winner.
The fact that sooner or later we will all be pensioners, unless of course you die young, will not matter to some. After all retirement is a long way of to many and getting further all the time.
Eileen Kersey manages TEK Staff Blog