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Sturgeon guilty of pensions ignorance

Alan SteelHaving been in the independent financial advisory game since January 1973 , when Nicola The Great was only two and a half , I’ve had it up to here with changes imposed by our politicians on every aspect of our pension entitlement, state and private, especially those designed to win votes.

Previously I’ve pointed out that there have been more than  550 changes imposed by successive governments before the ones starting on 6 April announced by the incumbent Tory/Lib government.

The recent lot was obviously aimed at winning votes from baby boomers, the largest demographic cohort ever seen in the UK (and Scotland for that matter ), me included.

Since 1987 UK politicians suddenly noticed that pension promises made up to then were too generous for ordinary mortals and began a “slowly slowly , nobody will notice” chip chip away at pension rights. Not their’s  though. Just the rest of us.

The old state pension age of 65 for men and 60 for women had obviously been actuarially calculated to ensure that those who die before their time help to subsidise those who ate lettuce, ran up hills and inherited longevity genes from grannies. (In my generation granddads were as scarce as honest politicians).

And as I recall from my early days in the council estate where I grew up, a large number of males retiring at 65 did not seem to survive long after drawing their old age pension.

Oh , I almost forgot … the UK state pension is not funded. In other words , what you or I paid in National Insurance or income taxes didn’t actually contribute even one penny to your pension. Those retiring  are paid from what current workers are contributing and who think they’re sticking away savings for their own retirement. Nope!

So when the bold Nicola says “it would be completely unacceptable for people in Scotland who have paid into a state pension all of their lives to lose out” she has forgotten to check the facts.

Alan Steel is chairman of Alan Steel Asset Management

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