Tonight’s YouGov poll has topline figures of CON 40%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10% – full tabs here. This certainly suggests that the five point Labour lead yesterday was indeed an outlier, and that the underlying picture remains the same old neck-and-neck position between Labour and Conservatives.


372 Responses to “YouGov/Sun – CON 40%, LAB 38%, LDEM 10%”

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  1. The coalition think it’s fair for child benefit, why not the pension?

    After all, if you have a pension of over £40,000 do you need the state pension too?

  2. R HUCKLE

    @” Yes I am talking about a means test and if you have income above certain levels, then you would actually receive a reduced state pension amount.”

    Interesting idea :-)

    But the underlying problem will not go away.

    We are living longer, so unless we work longer, years in retirement get longer.

    With an ageing population, there are less workers to pay for this.

    Tinkering about, trying to find some convenient group of “rich people” to pay for unsustainable state retirement won’t solve the problem.

    The top 1% of earners pay 25% of all income tax -I’m sure they won’t mind giving up there state pension too.

    You could mint medals for them in compensation-in some base metal or other-inscribed “Cash Cow”.

    :-)

  3. Colin

    If the top 1% pay a quarter of the tax, two questions spring to mind.

    1. How much of the UK’s assets are owned by the top 1% (somebody somewhere mentioned over 60%)?

    2. What percentage of income is earned by the top 1%?

    If more than a quarter of the income is earned by the few, shouldn’t they pay more than a quarter of the tax collected?

  4. @NICK P

    What percentage of benefits are paid to people who have already paid enough tax to deserve the benefits? :)

  5. Are we saying that all services from education, healthcare, pensions and welfare should go to the rich, since they have paid for them?

  6. No.

    I am saying that there are too many people out there claiming benefits, and never paid tax.

    …Are we saying that just because someone can play the system they should be allowed to?

  7. AW
    Thanks for your insight into the Carswell graph. It just goes to show you can’t trust anyone these days!

  8. Is everybody in receipt of benefits playing the system? Or just the ones who “haven’t paid in”?

  9. Fascinating article by Evan Davies on the BBC website on the Austerity vs Stimulus issue.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9694000/9694710.stm

    It supports what I’ve thought since before the GE – that the principle difference between the two sides of the argument is not on economics so much as on where the balance of risk should be placed. Maybe this explains why the debate has become so polarised – our approach to it is determined by our political outlook.

    I had a blazing row about this on a station in rural Japan with a Polish colleague last summer. He insisted that the base of the argument was one of economic theory – I argued that the argument was fundamentally political. I’ll send him that link and see if he’s prepared to eat humble pie.

  10. Can I state the blatantly obvious please ?

    In the latest Sun/YouGov poll the 18/24 year olds are very supportive of Labour.

    As you go ‘up’ the age bands the Tories become more and more the Party of choice !

    I always said you get more common sense when you’re past 30 !

    With an ‘ageing’ population does this mean ‘by by’ Labour ?

  11. I think if people think £26K is a decent enough amount to live on, then any individual receiving more than £26K should not receive a state pension. Sounds fair to me specially in times of austerity. I think this should be brought in with immediate effect.

  12. @Robin
    “As you go ‘up’ the age bands the Tories become more and more the Party of choice !”

    There are several possible reasons apart from people becoming wiser as they get older. e.g.
    1) Tory voters live longer
    2) Labour voters more likely to emigrate
    3) Tories tend to be more conscientious about voting and so retain their allegiance whereas Labourites might become even more apathetic and end up as Don’t Knows.

    None of these necessarily invalid the theory that in the long term Labour are doomed.

  13. Actually Labour is/are ahead in every age group except the over 60s. Either people turn Tory when they get too old to know better, or all Tories are going to die off soon and we will have a progressive Government forever (or until a wave of new Cons appear from Gove’s free schools).

  14. @NICK P

    Should anyone / everyone who pays high rate tax be a target for those who wish they were rich?

    That’s enough from me. Far, far too political, and we’ve both established that we will not agree on such subjects.

  15. Don’t know if the table below will format properly, but I had to calculate the data myself a while back, so there is not a web link (and I don’t how to weblink to spreadsheets like Statgeek can!)

    Of course, the below only deals with those paying income tax, so does not address other forms of earnings or, more importantly, assets held, but highlights per salary band the mix of total income earners, mix of total income earned, mix of total tax paid………..(NOTE not tax rate but mix of total Income tax collected)

    eg 18.7% of UK workers earn between £30k and £50k per annum, earning 25.7% of UK aggregate salary income, and paying 22% of UK income tax collected…….

    It’s quite helpful to get a sense of understanding by band….

    Income bands % earners % of income % tax paid

    below £7.5k 4.64% 1.23% 0.00%
    £7.5k to £10k 9.34% 2.93% 0.48%
    £10k to £15k 20.59% 8.86% 3.60%
    £15k to £20k 15.88% 9.80% 5.93%
    £20k to £30k 22.26% 19.68% 14.60%
    £30k to £50k 18.72% 25.71% 21.99%
    £50k to £100k 6.48% 15.23% 19.23%
    £100k to £200k 1.51% 7.20% 12.21%
    £200k to £500k 0.46% 4.71% 10.20%
    £500k and above 0.12% 4.66% 11.76%

  16. Mmm, format didn’t work but numbers still work……

  17. Once you get into an argument about fairness over issues of tax and state benefits, it becomes very tricky.

    The point is that everybody agrees that the pensions and benefits system is currently not sustainable. The difficult bit is then deciding on what changes you need to make. I am not convinced that any of the main political parties have policies that really deal with the situation. I don’t believe that increasing the pension age is the answer, for the reasons given earlier. Somehow the government needs to help business create a lot more well paid jobs in the economy and this will increase tax take, plus reduce benefit cost.

  18. Follow-up from my previous post on the Glasgow council:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-16980679

    “Six councillors have now left Glasgow City Council’s ruling Labour group, after a day of turmoil saw the authority’s budget pass by two votes.”

    “With six councillors no longer part of the Labour group, the party can now count on 40 votes while there are 39 other councillors in total. ”

    Rather messy.

  19. NICKP

    @”1. How much of the UK’s assets are owned by the top 1% (somebody somewhere mentioned over 60%)?”

    Ah-those “assets” eh.-Other peoples “assets” .

    The Golden Goose :-)

    It really is vital to you that “rich people” exist Nick. You want them to keep you in comfort.

    Shouldn’t you show them a little more respect?

    :-) :-) :-)

  20. @statgeek

    It passed though, don’t see how this affects things and yes Glasgow will go down to the wire, I’m not denying that!

  21. @HOODED MAN

    “and I don’t how to weblink to spreadsheets like Statgeek can!”

    Generally I link to pictures of spreadsheets, but if you want, you can create a google docs account and links to spreadsheets on that. There’s some limitations between Excel and google though, and I’m toying with other solutions for that myself.

  22. NICKP

    @”What percentage of income is earned by the top 1%?”

    Hooded’s splendid numbers give you a clue :-

    0.58% of earners, earning 9.37% of income, pay 21.96% of income tax.

    2.09% of earners, earning 16.57% of income , pay 34.17% of income tax.

    Happy?

  23. @R Huckle

    “The point is that everybody agrees that the pensions and benefits system is currently not sustainable. ”

    No they don’t. The “everybody agrees” argument is a standard technique used to try to support an argument which is fundamentally flawed, by positing as a starting point something that is false.

  24. @Colin;

    There’s actually a reason for that; it’s called the marginal utility of money. A 50% tax on someone who earns £100,000 (just using round figures for the sake of it here) may actually be, in terms of what that money means to them, equal to a 25% tax on someone who earns £75,000.

    Essentially, the more you have of something, the less each increment means to you. If you have a chocolate cake, the first slice is amazing, second merely good, third somewhat distasteful, and so on. This actually applies to money as well. An income increase of 10% when you earn £10,000 actually increases what you can do with your money much more than an income increase of 10% when you earn £10,000.

    There are some quite easy psychological tests that you can prove to do this. For example, would you take a 9 in 10 chance of receiving £1000 if there was a 1 in 10 chance you’d lose £8000? The vast majority of people say no, even though the expected outcome is actually positive. This is because the expected outcome in terms of utility, rather than simply raw £, isn’t actually positive.

    As such, taxing the rich so that they provide more wealth in revenues as a proportion than the wealth they actually own than the poor isn’t strictly speaking “unfair”. You are taking more money as a percentage, but you’re reducing utility by an equal amount for both groups (or at least, you are if you’re doing it right) because the value of money is not absolute.

  25. @ Ray North

    “Moving across the Atlantic – is it curtains for Mittens? Read our analysis of Mit Romney’s travails in the GOP Caucuses – can he come back?”

    I enjoyed the article, I thought it was excellent and much improved in terms of its analysis.

    I think where Romney has gotten hurt in these contests are some of his gaffes regarding economic status, particularly his comments about not caring about the poor, his enjoyment of firing people, how earning $480k was just a little bit of money, etc.

    I don’t think it’s curtains for him simply because he’s still got a huge financial edge, the two main conservative opponents he has have the potential to split the vote, and Santorum is too far right on social issues even for many Republicans.

  26. @Lefty,

    It is a nice, simple, clear article by Evan Davis. Just what the doctor ordered, actually!

    I’ve been asking for a while how exactly spending more (borrowed) money can give a net positive return to the Treasury. Finally there’s an answer. It can’t. The return appears to be between 0.5 and 0.7. In other words, if you spend less borrowed money, your deficit goes down. If you spend more borrowed money, your deficit goes up.

    So you’re right, it throws us back onto the old political divide. Spending more money makes reducing the deficit harder, but A) it’s worth it because of the social harm that’s avoided or B) it’s more important to tackle the deficit than to protect services, because economic stability depends on it.

  27. @Neil A

    There’s something missing in the analysis – it ignores *future* benefits. You may only get back 50% of money spent this year, but in following years you continue to get the benefit. Whether or not you do eventually get back more than you spent probably varies according to details, but a lot of the benefits are near unquantifiable.

  28. @Robin,

    Yes, perhaps, but those “future benefits” also have to be weighed against the future benefit of not having a deficit.

    What I am arguing against is the “Osborne increased the deficit because he cut too much” allegation that sometimes crops up.

    “Osborne destroyed our education, decimated health services and ruined the environment because he cut too much” is a more reasonable argument (not necessarily right of course). But to argue that the virtue of public spending extended to self-perpetuation of funds always left my head spinning.

  29. @Neil A

    There’s also the argument that, while (supposedly) reassuring the money markets, the same austerity rhetoric badly undermined consumer confidence and thus precipitated the slowdown observed from autumn 2010 onwards. Each side of these ‘confidence’ issues are nigh on impossible to quantify, and the arguments are once again political rather than economic.

    It’s long been a bugbear of mine that the managerialism that infected government from Major onwards was in fact a means of avoiding the true issues. One can only judge whether a policy is effective once you have defined what you mean by ‘effective’. In buying into managerialism, Labour threw away the language of social justice that is its raison d’etre.

  30. Robin/Neil A

    I agree that the future benefits are unquantifiable, but I’d also argue that they DO exist. Partly from a stimulus that helped build the productive base, and partly from increased confidence (or decreased lack of confidence).

    Cameron’s “maxed out the country’s credit card” was a superb piece of simplification of a complex problem to justify ONE approach to the problem. Part of Labour’s problem has been their inability to develop an equally simple folksy counter example. It really shouln’t be too difficult to do, but Labour have been woeful in not doing so.

    Something like a story of a tree feller with a blunt axe. Investing in a new whetstone would cost him money up front, but if he could cut more trees in the future, he’d be better off in the long run. Tightening his belt will save him money up front, but leave him poorer in the long run.

    Ok, it ain’t as snappy as maxing out credit cards, but I’m not paid to do this.

  31. Neil A, you, me and others have discussed this before using 1979-82 as a reference point.
    I think we agreed, I accepted, that the ’81 budget led to reducing the deficit quicker in that economic cycle but where we disagreed was the social cost balance and hence long term cost.
    We will never know who is right about then and we will never know what would have happened with Lab in power now. although speculation can be fun.

    I accept that the biggest threat to recovery is high interest rates but imo the potential downgrading risk was overstated by the GO (and latterly NC).
    Truth is both the coalitions and oppositions positions are credible and a choice has to be made.
    Not the forum for an Economic argument as no-one on here will change their minds about the speed of defecit reduction in the short term but I think that we can agree that the difference is essentially political.

  32. Lefty,

    Thanks for that link. An interesting article which not just highlights the point you make about the political v economic debate, but emphasizes how close both sides are whilst proclaiming the very opposite.

    Jimjam,

    Good post – your pragmatic and balanced views are always worth reading.

  33. TOP HAT

    Thanks for that.

    I feel sure that higher earners everywhere will be anxious to take your psychological test, so that they can understand that “the value of money is not absolute.”-and that the extra bit you take from them was really quite illusory & worthless.

    I have no doubt that some of them will come to see that the “utility” of the extra effort in earning it is also “not absolute”…………at least not in this country.

    :-)

  34. I think the Government is moving in the opposite direction to that proposed by a number of posters, relating to those with pensions of 25K or 40K not getting a state pension. I believe that as from 2015 the means tested element of the pension will be included in the basic pension for everyone.

  35. LEFTYLAMPTON

    @”I agree that the future benefits are unquantifiable”

    Not entirely true.

    There have been studies.

    This is one such:-

    h ttp://www.nber.org/digest/mar11/w16479.html

    You will see that the authors conclude that for the 44 countries studied, key characteristics such as the level of development, the exchange rate regime, openness to trade-as well as public indebtedness, were relevant to the multiplier outcomes from fiscal stimuli.

    The conclusion included :-

    ” response — which is called the fiscal multiplier — is relatively large in economies operating under a predetermined exchange rate, but it is zero in economies operating under flexible exchange rates. Finally, they conclude that fiscal multipliers are smaller in open economies than in closed economies, and are zero in high-debt countries.”

    and

    “Economies that are relatively closed, whether because of trade barriers or larger internal markets, have long-run multipliers of around 1.3 to 1.4, but relatively open economies have negative multipliers. Indebtedness also matters: when the outstanding debt of the central government exceeds 60 percent of GDP, the fiscal multiplier is not statistically different from zero on impact and it is negative in the long run. Thus, the 60-percent-of-GDP threshold is a critical value above which fiscal stimulus may have a negative, rather than a positive impact on output.”

  36. Good Evening from cold south coast, and Half Term has arrived, alleluia.

    CON HOME is saying yesterday’s by election results give a ‘notional’ Labour lead of 2% and people on there are saying the Towcester result was bad for the Conservatives= 13% swing to Lib Dems.

    On another matter: economic figures look possibly better, which is not necessarily bad for Labour, as ‘The Party’ tends to do better when economy is good.

    On a third point over the debate about how much to live on, our local family centre are saying they care for 200 families who do not have enough on which to eat, heat and clothe the children.

  37. LEFTYLAMPTON

    There is also this very detailed study by OECD, which also highlights the effect on multiplier of key characteristics of the economy in question.

    h ttp://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/3/62/42421337.pdf

  38. @ Roger Mexico

    “Well of course us UKPR intellectuals are omniscient, but I actually think that most people (Manx, British or just terrestrial) can distinguish between the the stereotype of the ‘loud American’ tourist, dating back at least to the Fifties, and the real diversity of real US citizens[1]. Our delight in Trump is because nonetheless he fits the stereotype perfectly and apparently unselfconsciously and things such as his less than stellar business record and whatever it is that inhabits his scalp just make it better.

    As to who wears garish bermuda shorts? Well Donald Trump presumably (I value my eyesight too much to do an image search)

    [1] As opposed to Real Americans who are expected to be all the same and not too distant from the stereotype.”

    :)

    Whether he fits the negative stereotype of an American, Trump is kinda funny given how loud and opinionated he is while he’s a total ignoramus. Like his whole interest in fighting on WWF.

    I think the tourist stereotype includes a fanny pack too as well as the Bermuda shorts.

  39. http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9694000/9694710.stm

    The debate on Radio 4 this morning clearly stated that- by borrowing to invest more- you’d get a boost to growth = and more employment, more tax, less welfare payments.

    But that the boost would only be modest- and (modestly) greater if the boost was spent on infrastructure rather than a temporary reduction in NICs for those on low and middle incomes.

    Simply cutting spending and putting up taxes- making your only goal deficit reduction- won’t cut it in terms of job creation and economic growth. That was the clear message from the report and from the debate.

    However the ACTUAL unquantifiable is the impact that a strong ‘deficit reduction’ announcement had on bond rates.

    Those in favour of “deep and fast cuts” like to opine (as that all it is) that this “austerity crash bang” announcement within weeks of the 2010 GE is responsible for our healthy bond spread compared to most other EU countries. Another explanation/ major contributory factor is that the very EURO crisis that has pushed up bond rates in most EU countries is what is making- for the moment- the UK appear a ‘safe haven’.

    Roger Bootle alluded to this in his normal articulate way. We won’t find out which element is most responsible for out bond rates until- one way or another- the EURO crisis is sorted out. When that happens one possibility is that our bond rates- irrespective of deficit performance- shoot up because we are no longer benefiting from that ‘safe haven’ status.

    Another point to make – and one that Telegraph and Spectator posters rail against persistently- is that Osborne is not only cutting he is also desperately trying to boost various sectors of the economy and various sub regions. 1Bn announced just before Christmas for “shovel ready projects” (straight out of the post Keynesian play-book): well Nick Clegg managed to grab the announcement for that ;-)

    Pretty small potatoes given that this is the worst economic depression in a 100 years. But certainly not a purist “cut and tax” strategy.

  40. May I ask why so many people here deliberately mis-type a web address? Is it for fear of being moderated? I’ve posted dozens in full and never once had a post moderated as a result.

    I’m asking because I’d love to read Colin’s links but can’t deal with them on an iPhone

  41. LEFTY

    Sorry about that-didn’t realise you were on an iPhone.

    Hopefully you can get to a computer sometime.

    I break the http in order not to go into automatic moderation .

    Anthony releases posts with links later-but you have to wait.

    Actually all you have to do is rejoin he http bit & you have the correct web address.

    I always check if it works before posting links like that.

  42. Lefty/ Colin

    You can use ONE weblink (as I did above) in full and it does not get moderated.

    But if there are more than one it disappears for a while.

  43. Colin

    Ok. Managed to open that OECD report.

    Three things stand out on a cursory first reading.

    1) Those relationships between fiscal multiplier and aspects of the economic state of a given country are highly scattered. There’s a relationship at the extremes, but in the middle, where most countries are, the scatter is so huge as to make any effort to draw conclusions nigh on meaningless.

    2) As I’d expected, they deal only with the short-term multiplier. There is no effort to quantify the longer term cost-benefit of maintaining confidence in the economy through a stimulus.

    3) The figures on the sizes of the stimulus and automatic stabiliser costs for various countries in 08-10 are fascinating. They certainly should put to bed this nonsense about Old Brown splurging recklessly in the run up to the GE. By international standards were were, dare I say, prudent.

  44. Lefty,

    It’s fine for iphone. Just copy and paste the link into your web browser thingy at the top and then delete the space?

  45. ROB

    Thanks

    Didn’t realise that.

    For what it is worth, my reading of the market commentaries is that UK Gilt yields are low for these reasons:-

    UK controls it’s own monetary policy.

    QE by an independent Central Bank injects confidence into the market, as it shows there will be always be a buyer to turn over old debt. This keeps Gilt prices up / yields down ( which was the objective of QE !) ****

    Government intent to reduce deficit & debt levels relative to GDP.

    However the caveats you enter with regard to our comparative position are reasonable enough :-

    “The UK is benefiting from its status as a haven, which in the short term is a good thing for the gilt market,” said Robert Stheeman, head of the UK Debt Management Office. “However, we cannot afford to be complacent as yields at these levels tell a story of how stressed some of the other markets are … [That] causes potential difficulties for some banks that might buy our debt if their balance sheets are coming under pressure.”
    FT

    Meantime-whilst there is uncertainty about the fundamental worth of EZ sovereign debt for each member country, this comment seems to identify another good reason to buy UK Gilts:-

    “At the moment, gilts look like a very good investment,” said Anthony O’Brien, a fixed-income strategist at Morgan Stanley. “If you want to preserve capital in a difficult market, then gilts looks like a good bet”

    ie you can be sure of getting your money back !

    **** Look at the dramatic effect on Italian & Spanish bond yields following ECB’s change of heart & Draghi’s huge three year liquidity initiative.

  46. LEFTY

    THe OECD study does in fact look at effects posts Yr 1.

  47. LEFTY

    @”They certainly should put to bed this nonsense about Old Brown splurging recklessly in the run up to the GE”

    I’ve not read such criticism.

    The criticism about Brownian spending relates to running deficits during a period of economic growth leading up to the 2007 catastrophe -from around 2001.

  48. @Neil A

    “But to argue that the virtue of public spending extended to self-perpetuation of funds always left my head spinning.”

    Spending for spending’s sake is obviously not good economics, be it private or public money that’s being wasted and I’ve heard very few people actually argue that profligacy in itself is a good thing. In that sense you may be constructing a straw man here, but I think I get your gist. The problem is that if you have an underlying antipathy to public spending, almost to the point of wanting to drive it down to a level where it’s confined essentially to the funding of necessary evils, then the social fabric becomes frayed in an increasingly atomised, individualistic and privatised society. This is where political choices enter the equation as opposed to purely macro-economic arguments about the optimum sizes of debt and budget deficit. I think we’re in that territory now.

    I take the view that a largely affluent society like ours should err on the side of marginal waste and inefficiency if we’re serving the greater good. What I mean by that is if we’re lifting people out of poverty or preventing destitution, then I’m quite prepared to tolerate a few benefit cheats, especially if the mean-spirited pursuit of these miscreants deprives help to those truly in need. I know it’s simplistic and may well offend the budget discipline sticklers and economic puritans amongst us, but it’s my sort of utilitarian view on life. The greatest good for the greatest number and that’s why, in my Mandelsonian way, I’m immensely relaxed about Daily Mail-esque welfare scroungers who occasionally pop up to add to the gaiety of the nation.

    I apply the same sanguine outlook to other areas of public expenditure like health and education. Steely eyed purveyors of efficiency in these areas threaten to ruin the immense social good that publicly provided and freely available health and education does and the enormous social capital that accrues to our nation. Of course there are waste and inefficiencies in these areas and I suspect there always will be unless you means test the access and qualification to these services to the point of bureaucratic breakdown, but properly funding the least worse systems usually affords the best outcomes. The last Labour Government was accused by its right wing antagonists of pouring vast quantities of taxpayers money “down black holes” in areas like health, education and welfare to, in their eyes, no good effect. They quite often point to a mixture of isolated and atypical ghastly failures (inevitable) and headline grabbing half truths and slanted myths. What they refuse to acknowledge, however are the countless lives saved, the life chances of millions enhanced and the misery averted.

    My fear is that under the guise of essential and unavoidable austerity, we create a welfare state that is an exclusive rather than inclusive one and where we encourage people to opt out. That’s why I’m relaxed about progressively taxed millionaires getting child benefit and free health and education, every bit as accessible as it is to the moderately paid or unemployed. Progressive taxation funding an inclusive welfare state with narrowing levels of inequality and the widening of opportunity for the underprivileged are noble and still realistic aims in my view.

  49. Colin

    As I say, only a cursory look, but I thought the post Y1 figures were from a predictive model rather than a posteriori appraisal of actual events.

    As for criticism of Brown, may I point you in the direction of your own party’s pronouncements in the run up to the Election (once Osbourne had put his head back above the covers whence he’d dived in Oct 08). Prior to the Global Calamity, Osbourne had promised to match Brown’s spending plans, so presumably he didn’t have a big philosophical issue with the (really rather meagre) deficits that had been run. Post-Catastrophe, the Tories repeatedly accused Brown and Darling of having spent too much on the stimulus.

    Your very own leaders words in 2009:
    “We opposed the £12 billion Labour wasted on the VAT cut.
    We were against the fiscal stimulus.
    We said they should reduce their spending plans back in 2008.
    And now we’re saying they should abandon their irresponsible plan to increase spending in 2010.”

    http://www.conservatives.com/News/Speeches/2009/04/The_age_of_austerity_speech_to_the_2009_Spring_Forum.aspx

    Hard to see how it could be any clearer really isn’t it. A fiscal stimulus which was very modest by international standards decried by Cameron as irresponsible and something that the Tories opposed.

    As I say, you start with your political aims, then bolt on the economic policy to suit. If your aim is to drive down the tole of Govt, then everything else will be subordinated to that aim.

  50. @Lizh

    “I think if people think £26K is a decent enough amount to live on, then any individual receiving more than £26K should not receive a state pension. Sounds fair to me specially in times of austerity. I think this should be brought in with immediate effect.”

    I DO live off a work related pension a lot, lot less than your suggested figure!

    However I would still totally agree your suggestion seems reasonable, PROVIDED of course the govt immediately REPAYS all my pension contributions, plus any interest that would have accrued if they had not been charged, plus a penalty fee for fraudulently extracting money from me in the past 49 years.

    Yes, it is 49 years because I started working full time when 16 years old and that is how long I have been paying in for my pension. In all that time I have claimed precisely 1 week of unemployment benefit. I have never claimed any other sort of employment/housing/family benefits. I EARNED that old age pension and I EARNED my small work related pension.

    What right do you have to try and take away that for which I have already handsomely paid throughout my working life. Whom do you intend should benefit from ‘stealing’ away my old age pension – some half drunken lay-about who seems to spend most of his either procreating or watching Sky TV, and all at the the expense of those that do actually work and do actually pay their taxes.

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