No assumptions, you said " I know that many of the privileges granted to today's retired will have evaporated by the time I retire on my (comparatively) meagre defined contribution pension" Therefore i conclude you are not yet at retirement age and are complaining about benefits "enjoyed" by current pensioners that may not be available to you.pabenny wrote:Leaving aside the assumptions you seem to have made about my demographic profile, the point remains that today's retired are well served (as you yourself acknowledge.macliam wrote: But you are [getting into politics of envy]..... you are complaining that somebody may be getting something that you might not.
As I understand it, best predictor of poverty in old age is poverty before retirement age. Or put differently, people who are comfortably off while in work don't suddenly become poor when they reach pension age. Yet we still extend generous financial privileges to all retired people that we don't give to poor working age people. To be clear, I'm referring to higher tax allowances, free prescriptions, concessionary admission charges, winter fuel, etc, rather than the state retirement pension.
On prescriptions specifically - only the very poorest working age person receives free prescriptions (save for certain medical exemptions), whereas every pensioner pays nothing. This is nothing to do with need and nothing to do with ability to pay.
When considering the "fairness" of such things, maybe you should also remember that many of the current pensioners paid taxes, etc. which were used to support the previous generations who had not paid into any welfare state (because it did not exist). They didn't complain, because it was seen as progress - and the fact that the state chose to use the money collected as part of the current account and defer future liabilities was not their decision. The state has always paid in arrears.
Again you mention tax concessions - the only concessions are for those well over state retirement age, as are free TV licenses - I'd be interested to know of any others. The "benefits" you mention fall into the same camp as other global benefits ... and with the same issues - what is the cost of global provision over the cost of administering any system of means-testing and rectifying the resultant anomalies? I'm not saying it's fair - but why spread the pain for no advantage?
Oh, and in case you have a query on the demographics, I am not at state retirement age, won't be for several years and receive none of the benefits you refer to, apart from free prescriptions (which I would get anyway due to my medical condition).