BNP Manifesto 2010 : Pensions: Looking After Our Old People
• The BNP aims to increase the state pension to £150 per week within the duration of the first Parliament.
• The BNP will link the state pension to earnings which will ensure that pensioner incomes keep pace with the cost of living.
• The BNP will reduce the current annual allowance for tax relief on pension contributions from the present amount of approximately £230,000 to £75,000.
• A solution to the public sector pensions crisis must be found through a national conference with all the players — employers and workers’ representatives.
• Part of the solution lies in raising the age of retirement to 68 over a period of years.
• The BNP will enact legislation to ensure that pensions are eligible only to Britons and those who have fully paid into the system.
• The BNP will vigorously oppose the UK taxpayer being called upon to subsidise any pension underfunding crisis elsewhere in the EU.
The Pensions Crisis and the BNP’s Answer
Pensions come in three forms: the state pension, private sector pensions and, finally, those of employees in the state sector.
The underlying benefits to the government of an efficient and effective pensions system are twofold:
a) To minimise dependence on the state — and therefore the taxpayer — in old age.
b) To encourage long-term savings and, therefore, investment.
The State Pension
The BNP will seek to maintain the link between the state pension and earnings. This is designed to ensure that our pensioners maintain their standard of living and are not plunged into poverty as time goes on.
It is estimated by Age Concern that up to 2.5 million pensioners live below the poverty line. This is entirely unacceptable. This has been accentuated by steadily rising energy prices, occasioned by the fraud surrounding the concept of ‘man-made global warming’, which we reject and to which we refer elsewhere in this manifesto.
The BNP seeks to raise the guaranteed state pension to £150 per week within the duration of the first Parliament. This will embrace all credits and financial benefits to which the pensioner might previously have been entitled.
The funding for this increase will at least partly be derived from the savings identified earlier in this manifesto — primarily the cost benefits arising from the termination of Britain’s EU membership fees.
The Private Sector
In recent years, the private sector has experienced considerable shortfalls in funding. These arise, primarily, from increased life expectancy rates, weak conditions in investment markets and the long-term fall in interest rates affecting, therefore, the coupon on government bonds.
The Labour government’s removal of tax credits has also undermined investment returns. We shall re-instate the tax credit.
Most corporations have altered their pensions policy from one of defined salary/ benefits to one of defined contributions. To this extent, we would observe that in a mobile economy, where employees frequently move jobs, loyalty to a particular company has waned markedly in recent decades.
It is not the function of a political party to dictate pensions policy in the private sector. It is, however, our task to ensure that private pension funds are regulated to ensure they meet their contracted commitments to their members.
The same applies to corporations in the reducing instances of final salary schemes.
The Public Sector
Nearly a quarter of the workforce operates in the public sector. This amounts to some eight million employees.
Pension provision for this group is, for the most part, unfunded and therefore a liability to government and, consequently, the taxpayer.
It has been variously estimated that the funding required to meet this unfunded commitment may extend to as much as £1000 billion.
A solution must be arrived at by full and open consultation with employees and their representatives. Changes can only affect future contributions and future credits earned.
The Age of Retirement
Life expectancy continues to rise. The result is an increased burden upon the exchequer in terms of the cost of the state pension and the loss of income-generating employment.
It is also a fact that many employees do not welcome retirement at the statutory age. These people have a wealth of expertise and wisdom, still of value in the private and public sectors.
The BNP proposes gradually to raise the age of retirement to 68 over a period of years. Both public and private workers will be affected and early retirement schemes, funded by the public sector, will be terminated.
The purpose of tax relief on pensions is to encourage long-term savings, so that the beneficiary may be financially secure when retired.
Unfortunately, those who are in most need of financial security are also those who save the least. By contrast, higher rate taxpayers, who least require government tax rebates, generally save the most and account for more than half the cost of pension tax relief.
We do not support this system which in effect rebates tax to those who least require it.
We shall therefore reduce the current annual allowance for tax relief on pension contributions to £100,000.
The Government intends, from 2012, to implement a scheme under which employers and employees will also be required to fund a minimum annual contribution into a pension scheme, embracing 8 percent of qualifying earnings.
This will be made up of a minimum 3 percent employer contribution, which will be added to tax relief, plus the worker’s own contribution. Employers and employees will be permitted to increase their contributions.
The BNP is broadly neutral in terms of this measure, with one important proviso: we reject compulsory enrolment in the scheme.
According to the Pensions Policy Institute, running the pensions’ credits’ scheme is so complex that it requires 18,000 civil servants to administer it.
We believe in simplicity. We note that many potential beneficiaries do not claim, such are the complexities, and we believe that many consider the process of claiming to be demeaning.
As a result, our intention is to overhaul completely the system to streamline the process and make it more efficient.
In so doing, we believe a considerable saving would be achievable in the reduction of the costs of administration.
By raising the guaranteed state pension to £150 per week, we will already have taken significant steps to accomplishing this task.
EU Pensions’ Crisis
We note that there is a severe underfunding crisis emerging in many member nations of the EU, far exceeding the difficulties in the UK.
The BNP will vigorously oppose any attempt by the EU to oblige the UK to subsidise the shortfall.
A Fairer Deal for the Retired
The BNP will end the national scandal of elderly people being forced to sell their homes to afford nursing care.
This will remove a source of discontent amongst pensioners who have saved during their working life to look after themselves in old age.
We shall expect those pensioners with adequate private means to contribute to the provision of residential care or home nursing costs.
To alleviate the alleged labour and skills shortage, often employed by establishment politicians to excuse mass immigration, we shall encourage active pensioners to continue working beyond retirement age, on favourable tax terms.
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