Now that the last Budget before the next UK General Election expected in May is stowed away, what do we make of it? Some commentators have been at best neutral about Chancellor Darling’s efforts to steady the ship, many others have looked on the Budget as very much a political one where the chairs on deck are being moved around with money previously earmarked for schemes being switched into other more high profile and ‘deserving’ ones. Whether the effect of this financial engineering will help save the UK economy, in any way better than the moving of the furniture around the deck saved the RMS Titanic, is something we will not know until the passage of some time. Certainly,the result of this Labour will not become apparent until long after the imminent May General Election.
the 60life of work
Now to a specific Budget topic which is of interest to many in the 60-lifer group, who incidentally are a growing and therefore potentially more influential block of voters, spied in yesterday’s Financial Times under a sub-heading “Over-60s”.It was reported that the minimum number of work hours needed to be eligible for the working tax credit is to be reduced, so as to make it easier for the over-60s to receive the benefit. Furthermore , there is to be consideration of a reform of the employer’s right to enforce people to retire at the age of 65. This could result in the scrapping of a default age for retirement. Now that would be handy then, given that many people may soon find themselves having to carry on working nearly all of their lives, in order to have an income sufficient to keep body and soul together. He giveth with one hand only to take it away with the other?
You know all this talk about projections for growth , borrowing and spending into 2014-15 ,and beyond, leaves us perhaps feeling it is not our day. What happened to yesterday’s promises, for people living in England and Wales, on care for the elderly for instance; and no person will have to sell his/her home in order to have properly funded care services if needed in later years? Here is a quote to leave you with today:
‘Freezing the inheritance tax threshold to pay for older people’s care adds up to a funding increase of £110m by 2012/13 – a drop in the ocean compared to the over £1.79bn needed over the next two years to plug the social care funding gap’-
Michelle Mitchell, Age Concern Communications Director
Well, never mind, then. You can just try to stay healthy and carry on working until you drop.
’til next time.