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File photo dated 02/04/16 of two pensioners. See PA story MONEY Parents. Photo credit should read: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire
File photo dated 02/04/16 of two pensioners. See PA story MONEY Parents. Photo credit should read: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

Leader column: Postpone pensions? No, scrap the ESRI! 

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When is anyone in government or opposition going to shout stop to the continuing campaign to con decent working people out of their right to retirement?

It was a despicable con to raise the age at which the state pension will be paid to 66, 67 and eventually 68.

The public, who pay these people's wages, and very, very generous pensions, were never consulted about this.  Ministers just went ahead and let the qualifying age be increased - just casually moving the finishing line for people who had been looking forward to retiring after more than 40 years working.

Now we are told that the Economic and Social research Institute (ESRI) is recommending to government that it should consider raising the pension age to 70, because it believes "the cost of population ageing could be offset fully by extending the pension age to seventy".

There are many in the age bracket ranging from 55 up to 66 who may feel that the best bit of cost cutting the state could do now would be to abolish the ESRI!

Who do these people think they are?

From their very comfortable and even feather-bedded perch, they declare that the state should break its promise to their fellow citizens who have been working, and paying pension contributions, for decades, indeed for as much as two thirds of their lives.

They have been doing this in the expectation that when they reached the age of 65, or now 66, they would be entitled to retire and be paid the old age pension.

This would give them the opportunity to rest, renew their health and live out their Autumn years in some degree of comfort, free of the stress and strain of daily working life.

It would give them the opportunity to support their children in rearing their families, and indeed to contribute to society in a voluntary capacity if they wished.

In recent years the prospect of doing this at 65 has been snatched away from them and soon the qualifying age will be raised again.

That means they have to sign on the dole from the time they finish working till they are 66, 67 or eventually 68.

Now the ESRI say they should be left hang out there until they are 70. The suggestion is a disgrace.

It is totally unjust and unfair, not least to people in the private sector whose occupational pensions have been decimated, through no fault of their own.

If the state breaks the unwritten contract it has with its most diligent and hard-working citizens, it will be a massive betrayal of trust.

Politicians should know, the backlash against any government that imposes this measure will be enormous.