Kicking the bucket back!

14054150_1071693506212151_6188641893629370659_nLet’s get real about the older generations and yes, I have put it in the plural for a very good reason. My mother is still driving at 85. My Aunt of 97 has recently popped over from Canada for a short visit. We have a 34 year age span. My friend of 86 is still working for a community farm in despite two or three brushes with cancer. I could give you several more examples from personal experience, so let’s get some of the myths about frail old pensioners dispelled shall we?

The media are fuelling what I suspect is a Tory backed campaign to turn myth to reality in people’s’ minds in that old people are going to be an increasing burden because of our increasing numbers. I am now one of the ‘younger oldies’, absolutely fed up with magazines aimed at my age group that are full of adverts for stair lifts and electric scooters. So I went looking for some actual facts about old people in the UK today…and figures are wonderful things to play with – but then most of you younger people don’t know that.

2011 Census: Those aged 65 and over accounted for 16 per cent (10.4 million) of the population of the UK. By mid-2039 the raw figures show a different pattern and yes the numbers over 65 grow – but not in the way we are being led to believe.

2018: There will be 12.3 million aged over 65 – source Office for National Statistics and the lower level age for receipt of pensions  increases from there on in.


The over 65s’ share of UK’s income tax payments was 11 per cent for the tax year 2012/13, or £17.5billion of the £157billion total income tax paid, according to Prudential’s analysis

  • So… approximately 10.4% of the population all aged over 65 paid 11% of the tax bill for the whole country. 



British pensioners pay on average £3,258 a year in income tax (but the figure could rise as the new pension freedom rules start to have an impact), a new study suggests 

The new state pension from 2016 is £8,092pa. So after deducting the tax revenue generated by taxing pensions, a shortfall of £4834 per pensioner has to be found from the NI monies that have been paid in by an individual over 39 years.(4834/39 = £123pa to be paid back for every year worked).

Life expectancy over 65

Men who reach 65 can look forward to another 19 years, while women can expect another 21 (but there are regional variations) says Public Health England.

Given this life expectancy (39 years paid in/20 average years paid out) means only £61.50pa of monies paid in is actually paid back for every year worked.

  • So… the UK national NI fund is net contributing only about £61.50pa per pensioner towards the state pensions of the over 65’s.

In 2018, given the figures above, that will be £7.56bn pa (12.3m X 61.5), rather less than the (12.3m x 8092) £99.5billion that might be assumed from raw data.

The overall cost of replacing Britain’s Trident nuclear weapons system would be £167bn  (that’s 22 years worth of pensions payments)

  • So the lesson is… figures can provide a lot of smokescreens – there are lots of anomalies buried in the figures that are not all easily found or explained and I have not even tackled the social care bills in this essay, but currently:

853,615 old age pensioners currently receive essential care that allows them to live independently (less than 10%)

The proportion of the population aged 65 and over who were living in communal establishments  declined to 337,000 in 2011 and … The resident care home population is ageing: people aged 85 and over represented 59.2% of the older care home population

2013: Residential care homes were more profitable, at 31.3% of total income, compared with 27.4% for nursing homes

At the end of 2015: research by wealth manager Killik & Co and think-tank the CEBR found that the average annual cost of a nursing home has risen by 3.8 per cent over the past year alone to £39,300, while the cost for a residential home has increased by 2.4 per cent to £29,300. 

  • So I propose that the reason older people are now being billed as ‘becoming a burden’, is that (2011) Barely 10% of total care provision remains in state hands and the private care sector needs ‘growth’ for its shareholder investors. Diverting pensioner wealth and government pension provision into residential social care funding is the only way that can be done – in the short-term at least.

and todays headlines? =  – a crisis deliberately created by those with vested interests in private ownership of the care system?

About starspeakman

Poet, Writer, healer, nature photographer
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