Conservative pension fears are growing

Elderly couple on Dorset coast MPs in the South have been taken to task over George Osborne's 'granny tax'

The Easter holidays give MPs a break from Westminster, but also a chance to re-engage with their constituency.

And more than a few in the South are getting their ears bent over the Budget, in particular 'the granny tax'.

Christchurch in Dorset has the highest proportion of retired voters in the country.

The Conservative MP Chris Chope is concerned not just about the electoral damage but the change of principle he sees in the changes to the tax system that the Chancellor introduced as a "simplification".

Mr Chope points out that he has also been opposed to changes that affect child benefit, and he's considering pulling both threads together if he proposes amendments to the Finance Bill when MPs return to the Commons.

Savings concerns

"Underlying all this there is a big issue of principle," he says.

Start Quote

Chris Chope MP

I speak to lots of pensioners in my constituency and they would say that times are pretty tough when the return on your savings is virtually zero”

End Quote Chris Chope MP (Cons)

"Should we recognise in the tax and benefit system that some people have got higher costs than others?"

He points out that both the child allowance and age related benefits were introduced before the Second World War.

"Are we really going to remove these long-established policies which have enjoyed consensus across all the political parties for so long?

"Are we going to tear those up without having a proper debate about it?"

In other constituencies than Christchurch perhaps the issue would not have the same resonance.

But here people have the time to campaign against things they don't like. And a life time of filling in tax returns has left them very savvy to changes.

On the sun-drenched golf courses of the the south coast they're already annoyed at the way their savings have been undermined by the Bank of England's policy of quantitative easing.

Generation game

In Westminster that may be a policy few people are talking about, but in Christchurch Chris Chope says he's got the message.

"I speak to lots of pensioners in my constituency and they would say that times are pretty tough when the return on your savings is virtually zero.

"The pensioners who have put money aside for their retirement are finding that they're getting virtually no interest."

At least one MP will return to Parliament determined to press the case for the older generation.

Peter Henley, Political editor, South of England Article written by Peter Henley Peter Henley Political editor, South of England


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  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    They are right to be concerned. Useless bunch.
    But then, so too should those many know full well dove us straight into this mess, over a decade, plus their bovine union supporters and media glee clubs.
    Just because you have no choice doesn't mean you still can't prioritise.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    Yes, we're all in this together. I retired 2 years ago. No Pension, but knowing I had invest/savings to take me 5 more years, then after 65, Gov/Private Pens + Div's from shares. What have this Gov done? What they tried to encourage, Private Investment/Pensions, they have moved the goalposts. Youngsters, just spend your money now & forget about the future. I'm alright Jack, but lucky by age.

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Arh yes the voter bloc problem. Swingers

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    It's almost impossible to exaggerate the long term damage Gordon Brown and his government have inflicted on this country. Plundering the nation’s pension pot was only one of his many crassly inept and foolish short-term policies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    " some people have got higher costs than others? ... consensus across all the political parties for so long?"

    Good point. Singles in their twenties have much higher costs - we pay massive singles premiums on housing, food, pretty much everything designed for a 50s nuclear family. Tax cut for us to compensate, please! (tax those rich enough to have kids extra to pay for it)


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