Journalistic Reporting of Older People

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 A dangerous myth created through the media that pensioners of today constitute a uniquely fortunate generation whose luxury cruises, second homes and bus passes are coming out of the pockets of the young. The myth flies in the face of facts; only a narrow group of todays pensioners may never have had it so good but the later baby boomers are about to have it very bad.

The end of final salary pension schemes across almost all the private sector has made a stock market linked lottery for those who saved in their prime. Derisively low interest rates have reduced any income to almost zero- so it’s little wonder that the so called silver generation is returning to the work market,

The UK state pension is a disgrace, at £5,500.00 a year is among the lowest in Europe and don’t be fooled by the new coalition idea of increased basic by 2017; by then, with the cost of living rising rapidly it will be even more disproportionate. We need to ask why is the state pension treated as part of the welfare budget? Where ministers use the DWP and lose no opportunity to point out that the largest single component is pensions, at £74bn it is 47% of the welfare spending, why should the state pension be treated as welfare payment? It should come under the Treasury like child benefit or tax credits. The state pension is not welfare; it is a payment that has to be earned every step of the way. If you have not worked the requisite number of years you do not receive the full amount.

It has suited all Governments to lump the state pension with welfare as it allows ministers to expand or contract the benefits bill for whatever presentational purpose that suits them. Look at the vast budget of the DWP – they say to support an argument that it should be cut. Separating the budget would make such sleight of hand more difficult.

An example of why the media are at times responsible for confusing reporting: Just recently it was suggested that 16/17 year olds should have the vote and a TV programme went into a club of youngsters, laid out the DWP Budget and asked them where they would cut or change the spend and they chose to remove the largest amount from the pension pot showing that even 16 and 17 year olds have been brainwashed into believing that pensions are too big, a complete myth, conveyed by ministers who are making use of the media to twist reality.

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