Are pensions stopping us working?
This article is about a report on the front page of today’s Daily Telegraph which has Chancellor Jeremy Hunt openly talking about giving another tax break to rich old gits like me to encourage us to do some productive work. Now I freely accept that blogging is non-productive and that I do get a wage from a DB plan but I’m really wondering if paying 55p in 100p rather than 40p in the pound, is going to get me smashing rocks or picking hemp.
It might make me want to stick a few more thousands in my pension, thanks very much, because I don’t have to do any work to do that, just use my unused reliefs for the past few years in which I’ve been protecting my LTA. But of course this is all about doctors and the NHS so I should pretend that I’m yearning for a good quarry or hemp-yard.
But Britain doesn’t just need me smashing rocks, it needs the kind of productive worker for whom £100,000 in a pension pot would be a fantasy pension. This kind of person is likely right now to be 60+ and skulking on benefits – the sort of person who really could smash rocks and pick hemp. Here’s more from the Telegraph on the
Guy Opperman has now been repurposed as employment minister and as he’s brought his Mid Life MOT to the get us back to work party.
As I suspected, this midlife MOT is likely to involve a quiet word in the ear from the financial advisor
listen mate, either you’re down the job exchange or you can forget about universal credit , pension credit or pension savings credit – and I’m not signing off your mid-life MOT till you get a proper job. GO SMASH ROCKS/PICK HEMP.
So that’s the plan. That’s what ‘s meant by “treating” the people who have a “long term condition or mental illness” (aka “workshy“) and help them overcome the barriers and prejudices that prevent them from work.
We all know those prejudices
- I fancy a lie in
- My back hurts
- I want to spend time with grand kids
- I’ve had a windfall from my workplace pension
- and I’ve no intention of going back to work till I’ve spent it
This kind of mental illness used to land you in the poor house but now we have new ways to make you work. To begin with , let’s get back to the poor unfortunates with more than £1m in pension savings and once we’ve done with them we can move on to the kind of people who don’t get a new car every 3 years and understand what failing an MOT means.
Sanctioning the workshy?
The odd thing about aro0und 700,000 of the workshy is that (according to the ONS and IFS they aren’t claiming benefits. What sanctions can you apply to the non-working poor if they are self-supporting?
We know from the FCA’s Retirement Income Survey that the vast majority of pots that are being “crystallised” are under £10,000 and they are being cashed out. £10,000 may not buy you a Lamborghini but it buys you a few months of work and if you’ve got a few of these little beauties, you might be able to put your feet up till the state pension cuts in.
The odd thing is that when a previous chancellor introduced pension freedoms in the 2014 budget, he made it clear that people would not have draw their pot as an annuity but could have all the money at once – if they chose.
This freedom has resulted in a large proportion of the hundreds and thousands of mentalists who’v packed work in early, having the means to do so.
Perhaps Jeremy Hunt and Guy Opperman might consider another windfall tax on pension drawdowns, to mitigate lost revenues from the pension millionaires. This would stop savers spending their hard pots and get the sturdy beggars back to work.
Or of course they could create a workplace pension system that actually paid pensions,