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A Vision for Pensions The current struggle for public sector pensions has brought the focus on retirement and old age provision into sharp focus. Workers both in the public sector and more often in the private sector have a bleak future to look forward to, surviving on state hand-outs and mean tested benefits, is what many will have to endure. The picture is most stark for those in the private sector as their current employers fail to provide any contribution to their employee's old age. Opting in will alleviate this but for many this will be too little too late and even looking forward provision will be of the minimum. Public sector pension schemes have been subject to a number of reforms since 2002, all of which have had the aim of reducing the value of the main public sector schemes; resulting in a much less favourable retirement for the 5 million members. In the majority of industrial societies older people generally occupy a low social and economic status in comparison to younger adults. Older people are socially engineered out of the labour market by capitalism, however with the introduction of age related discrimination legislation, this has weakened somewhat but weakened for the wrong reasons. In an effort to deal with unemployment successive governments have encouraged workers to leave the labour market early by taking their pensions at a younger age, the consequence of this is that even greater pressure has been placed on schemes. Governmental policies on education, retirement and social security have a significant if not determinant impact on the period of the working life of the citizens of Britain. Work is
viewed as the main source of economic status in an industrial society and those citizens outside of the labour market are more than likely to have a relatively deprived status. In fact approximately 90% of all pensioners receive some form of state support, whether it is a pension credit or a television licence. Consequently many elderly people are trapped in poverty due to a reliance on state benefits. In fact Britain's pensioners have the 4th highest level of poverty in Europe, behind that of Rumania and Poland. The argument rages with Politicians and commentators alike that we as a nation cannot afford the current pensions provision for public sector workers. People are living too long, they are too generous, they are too costly are the chimes rung out to attack the pensions of workers; at the same time failing to acknowledge that the average pension for a public sector worker is a measly £5000. Download the full article