Monthly Archives: March 2013

My State on Sunday 13/52

Weekly Rating: 7/10

Highlight: ALL OF THE FOOD and Easter day was a pretty good chocolate day

Lowlight: squeezing 5 days of work into 4 days makes for a tired Alex.

Felt: On point

Watched: Grey’s Anatomy and Public Enemies, I absolutely love Johnny Depp films

Heard: Josh Rouse, Kate Nash, Tim McGraw and David Bowie

Read: The Fear Index

Visited: Work, Simpson’s on the Strand, West Kent Golf Club, Sutton Scotney.

Want: To live at 100mph and have it feel like 10.

Need: to kick this coming weeks arse.

Miss: Spring and not having to wear a scarf

Learnt: How hard it is to drink through two peoples’ bar tabs

Age-Related Universal Benefits Can’t Continue

Now this has been going around in my head since I watched Dispatches on Channel 4 last Monday (18/3/13), the subject was on “rich” pensioners and the universal benefits system for people in retirement. Benefits for pensioners currently make up a little under half the UK’s benefit system of £220bn, which is larger than our intake from income tax, £155bn.

The program listed all the age-related benefits pensioners enjoy.

  1. State Pension
  2. Winter Fuel Payment
  3. Cold Weather Payment
  4. £10 Christmas Bonus
  5. TV license for over 75 year old
  6. Higher Personal Tax Allowance
  7. Exemption from National Insurance contributions
  8. Free NHS Dental treatment
  9. Free NHS Prescriptions
  10. Free NHS Eye Test every two years
  11. Voucher towards the costs of glasses/contact lenses
  12. Contribution to travel costs for NHS appointments
  13. Free NHS wigs

I think it is important to point out that I fully support a universal state pension and exemptions from national insurance, however surely this is where it should stop for any universal benefit system for retirees. All otherbenefits should be means tested and only provided to those who cannot afford it or need the extra income to improve the quality of their lives, and I mean actually using the winter fuel allowance for a gas bill and not on a case of red wine to ‘warm your soul’.

The widely offered opinion from many retirees or people nearing retirement is that they have paid taxes all their lives and deserve all they get in retirement, especially if the money goes instead towards funding the benefit hungry lifestyles of the youth. Now, I have no problem with people believing if they paid taxes in during a full working life then they should expect the state to help fund their retirement. The problem is not the grievance with any move that would take universal retirement benefits and reallocate them within the benefits system to people who are seen as work shy. My problem is the lack of forward thinking as to who will in the long run pick up the bill.

The economy is already is a pretty shocking state and we simply can’t afford the growth in retirement benefits that the “baby boomer” generation will bring. If, like me, you are in your twenties with, in all likelihood, 50 years of working ahead of you the levels of taxes we will pay in our lifetime will be incomparable to those currently in retirement or nearing it. Without a drastic change to the current system it will not be the work shy who benefit, it will be the hard working who forfeit more income in taxes to cover this retirement income.

The power held by the “grey” voter is unprecedented. Any government who even murmurs of addressing this problem is threaten with losing the seat of power, and this is where the system fails. The government should not be addressing this as removing universal benefits but a spreading the load away from the next generation. The message should be,

‘Does Malcolm, who has worked hard and paid taxes all his life and is more than comfortable in retirement, want his son or daughter, who is also working hard and paying taxes, to have anything near the quality of life he has/had? If so he needs to sacrifice those benefits that are not directly needed, and accept a means tested system for all but the standard state pension. His son or daughter will already have a lower quality of life if he or she earns the same amount as Malcolm in his life, without addressing universal benefits it will be even worse.’

The problem with the “benefits generation” who move straight in to the system at 18 and show no desire to move off it is a far greater problem than redressing the universal benefits for those in retirement. Bringing it into the argument only muddies the waters.

Now don’t get me wrong I am not having a go at a generation who have worked so hard to build the UK economy to be a world leader in many sectors. There are huge problems with my generation and our attitude to saving for retirement. To put it simply, if you are over 25 and don’t have a pension you need a slap, if you have opted out of a work placed scheme you need two slaps and if you opt out of NEST you need not continue, please bury your head and forgo you right to retire. But without redressing the age-related universal benefits the cost will spiral as the number of pensioners increase and it will be the younger generations and those to come who will be paying off an exponential bill.

My State on Sunday 12/52

Weekly Rating: 2/10

Highlight: the 24 hours I didn’t feel like death in a jar

Lowlight: Everything

Felt: like death, warmed, shaken and stirred.

Watched: Ill Manors, good but nothing more, State of Play, Four Brothers and Waiting for Forever, which is pretty poo. I also caught Grey’s Anatomy and Our Girl on the beeb which was pretty good, shame it was only a one-off drama.

Read: The Fear Index, lots of public relations blogs

Visited: Work, physio and my sick bed, it used to be known as my bed but as asked for a name change due to poor treatment.

Want: to have a short week, oh wait hang on there are two back to back. FTW

Need: to take a chill pill, my temper is shorter than Warwick Davis at the moment.

Miss: Sunshine and warmth, snow in March is not fun or clever, even rain would be better than this chill.

Learnt: I can run again, well jog lightly and meander a little bit.

My State on Sunday 11/52

Weekly Rating: 8/10

Highlight: Going out 3 nights in a row like I am some sort of student

Lowlight: feeling like death after going out 3 nights in a row like I am some sort of student

Felt: like death at the start of the week and unstoppable by the end, well apart from Sunday when I felt like death again

Watched: The Girl who played with Fire, a good film but not as good as the first in the series, Dragon Tattoo. I also caught up on The Big Bang Theory and Grey’s Anatomy.

Read: The Fear Index, still not making much of a dent in this.

Visited: Work, L’Escargot, a friend’s place in Crouch End, which is in the middle of nowhere, Pubs and a House party in Aldgate East, very random.

Want: to sleep forever, getting home in the early hours has taken its toll.

Need: A new liver, after this weekend I think my current one can be written off for scrap

Miss: Sunshine, has anyone seen a big baking orange circle that use to live in the sky, I would like it to return at work its wonders.

Learnt: Traipsing across London is probably my biggest pet hate, especially when I am hungover and it’s raining.

My State on Sunday 10/52

Weekly Rating: 3/10

Highlight: Watching films from under a duvet

Lowlight: Manflu

Felt: like the world was collapsing on top of me

Watched: Contraband, Margin Call, The Man Inside. Margin Call is good, Contraband is OK and The Man Inside is utter shite. 

Read: The Fear Index, it’s a hard one to get into.

Visited: Work, Hospital, sick bed.

Want: to rid myself of the all powerful manflu that now controls my body

Need: to find the sorceress of Castle Grayskull, so by the power of the Greyskull I can beat the all encompassing manflu.

Miss: not being snotty.

Learnt: I am really melodramatic

I now have a 4th doctor with no answers – Pachyder What

Well, that might be a little bit harsh but I still do not have any answers, or anything more than a loose plan, regarding my blood and bone marrow problems.

My State on Sunday 9/52

Weekly Rating: 9/10

Highlight: Impressing people.

Lowlight: Losing every race I bet on at Lingfield

Felt: Pumped, ended the week on a massive high

Watched: The horse racing at Lingfield.  

Read: The Diaries of a Fleet Street Fox, finished this and have now started on The Fear Index .

Visited: Work, a racecourse, pubs and bars.

Want: to have an iPhone without a smashed screen

Need: to have the most positive week ever, this one could have answers.

Miss: Having a phone I can use without getting shards of glass getting stuck in me.

Learnt: I am really rubbish at betting on horses, I bet on all 7 races and didn’t even pick a horse that placed.


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