Parity – Mugged in a Political Alley

August 25, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

K Wootton

 

By

Hazel Speed

We quite often hear about Parity in ‘this or that’ or between genders and age-groups. Some types of parity will begin in the future, other models of parity may commence soon or immediately, even further forms remain under debate either within the House of Commons or ‘the Other Place’.

A limited well-chosen number are matters of parity back-dated only so far but none, it would seem are ‘absolute’, i.e. back-dated to those still alive or lost earnings and/or benefits in lieu given to descendants of those who have since died.

The WASPI campaign is one such example of a large group of women who have signed a large e-petition re lack of parity – (Women Against State Pension Injustice). This ensured an initial debate in the House of Commons but the fight continues for full Justice.

At the time of the last Labour Government, legislation commenced and was also adhered to by the then following Conservative Government, whereby State Pensions would be deferred by 9 months and thereby separated from any attaching small Occupational  Pensions, already having been earned and taxed during working years. Up to the time of the initial Legal Legislation the two Pensions remained tied together to be paid jointly at the time of the then State Pension age for women (and I refer now to women born in 1950 due to retire in 2010 at the age of 60). Then the political goal posts moved.

There was cunning in this strategy and probably earned the person who devised it a very great form of recognition, saving, as it did, monies for use elsewhere.

To reaffirm …

The cut off point seemed to relate to those born around April 1950 and instead of getting both pensions simultaneously as had always been the case previously at the age of 60, i.e. 2010, then WASPI women had to wait until 2011. If one was born in December 1950 for instance, they would only receive their State Pension in September 2011.

There were classes or rules as to who could defer occupational pensions until same caught up to the new date of State Pension but those registered sick were not allowed to defer, such people were often carers sharing homes with elderly relatives.

However this lack of ‘parity’ gets worse because the sick could not defer small occupational pensions from kicking in as this was considered an earning and thus defaulted against the State Pension nine months later because of the same. The Legislation defaulted against the rights of the sick (the Human Rights Act) but because it came under ‘Legislation’ it won with impunity/immunity or more earthy descriptions.

The 1940s decade were safe from these financial musical chairs and if a woman was born in the first quarter of the 1950s she most likely esaped this immoral rip-off also. That monthly cut-off point ensured an overlap between years re the 9 month delay, tax returns, etc.

The “brain” who thought this money-making scheme up must be related to the same person who got Lady Thatcher out of a hole when she clawed back money from one older group and to quell the outcry the announcement was eventually made “this money was required to give more to the very elderly” – a lucky “get out” clause though, of course, many just wanted her to get out!

When a Carers’ Pension is lost, this is what they lose, e.g. For those with a rented home the loss will be free rent and Community Charge for Life, free Legal Aid, reduced electricity costs and many other items that come under the Guaranteed Pension Credit Scheme.

That may be considered by some today to be rather excessive but one has to bear in mind more often than not middle-aged and/or elderly children are looking after even older, wheel chair bound or bed-ridden Parents themselves as sole or principle carers, 24 hours a day 7 days a week ‘out of love’, not looking for payment.

How much per day would it cost the Government to put those requiring nursing in a care home (be it a good or bad one)?

As for the sick being unwell and unfit for work (probably on Incapacity Benefit), isn’t it funny how they cannot therefore be paid a weekly carer’s benefit, be told they will earn a Carer’s Pension upon retirement but not to defer the Carer’s Pension to line up with The State Pension when they are told about this devious issue by the Government only at retirement time.

Underlying entitlement is a betrayal by another name in lieu of money also at the point of retirement, yet Incapacity Benefit affords a free stamp credit. That, together with worked and earned insurance stamps often since 1965 for the 1950s generation of women, who started work aged 15, ensures they often end up with more than required insurance stamps.

To sum up, one can be a full time carer for free when sick oneself, that is fine especially living in same home as a relative one is nursing, but if the carer nurses a stranger next door they are considered a benefit cheat.

The saying is Charity begins at home, Justice begins next door (slightly used out of normal context herein to prove the point).

During Mr Cameron’s time quite a huge number of women workers were given some kind of political adjustment in some respects as they were born in 1953 I believe. Good for them, but a sham to the rest/WASPI women.

How does that help the rest of us, if we are workers and/or workers and carers born in the 1950s?

Parity should be absolute backdated to 1st January 1950 or April 1950 if that is the time the misdeed commenced, which incidentally also delayed the Winter Fuel Allowance to a year later and by then £50 less.

Then what about those who had to sell their homes to pay for nursing care until money ran out, then what? Surely, given their life earnings to own their own bricks and mortar should remain theirs to pass on to whom they like, often to their Family.

Why can’t we skip straight to the ‘then what’ as at care home costs the money will soon run out anyway?

They (or any surviving Families) should all be reimbursed to the full value of their homes today.

 

Two more categories.

Parity is being discussed between those who go back to work after raising children along with that of fellow workers who did not require a break in employment. This could apply to either men or women dependant on the one who took a break from their career.

It used to be said by some “well they chose to have children” and the retort was often “it is my child who will fight for you in the event of war.”

So where is the parity in this scenario? One has to be found rather than comparing metaphorical apples and oranges.

Parity of income between the genders their income and career opportunities/benefits. This one takes me back, as for years I had the responsibility of a male companion, in fact in some ways a little more. He received higher status, income and promotional opportunities than the rest of the female staff.

Therefore when we talk about parity do we mean aspects to be accommodated just to look good, if we must, or do we mean absolute parity which is the only Just form?

Whether issues come under Commercial, Governmental (with its protection of Official Secrets Act), or employment by Private Individual they should all be aware of what was done in their name and offer facility for restitution and closure.

Justice has many aspects subsumed therein and Absolute Parity/Equality are obvious elements.

When serious money can be found for matters many may consider trivial, then all categories referred to herein are so much more worthy to facilitate.

The snag of course is which currently existing political Party with any power in Parliament will have the intestinal fortitude to honour these debts and make restitution when the only two Parties to create this mess in the first place are either in disarray or are delaying Brexit, despite Mr Cameron promising to initiate the special Article to began Brexit the next day after the vote, if that was what the British people voted for – to leave Europe.

 

 

Written evidence to the Health Committee by Hazel Speed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hazel Speed

Photo (c) Hazel Speed – used by kind permision to Tuck Magazine

Hazel Speed is a Philosopher, Writer, and Artist with various creative projects at differing states of development. Her flaship project is an animation which has produced a film short: www.thepinkprofessor.com.

Art sites: www.candystoreart.comwww.terrificart.comwww.artbadges.co.uk.

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