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Wells Street Journal: The confusing case of the basic state pension

Nobody enjoys poking fun at a desperate politician scrabbling for an answer on live radio more than the WSJ.

So when Guido Fawkes mocked a stumbling performance by Labour shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves on Nick Ferrari’s LBC show, we had to have a look.

Fawkes declared confidently on his blog: “An MP not knowing the price of milk is one thing, but the shadow work and pensions secretary not knowing the value of the basic state pension is something else. Rachel Reeves did not know the answer when pressed several times by Nick Ferrari on LBC this morning.”

The transcript shows Ferrari pushing Reeves to tell him what the state pension is, with the Labour minister struggling to explain the contributory principle.

Fawkes then confidently declares: “The basic state pension is now £113.10 per week…”

But, as WSJ readers will know and a smart arse MM reporter was eager to point out, the value of the state pension actually depends on the individual’s National Insurance contribution record – so not quite as simple asking for the average pint of milk.

That said, Reeves probably should have had a slightly better response prepared than “It’s just under £100 a week, the basic state pension, of course”.



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There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Then there are the victims of the discriminatory frozen pension policy who just because of where they live get even less, some less that £20 a week even though they have made a lifetimes contributions to the NI scheme. Perhaps the shadow minister could answer a few questions about this ongoing injustice?

  2. She is obviously not up to the task like many of those in the Department of Works and Pensions. They tell porkies to disguise the facts as was proved over the need for a reciprocal agreement before being ‘able’ to uprate the pensions of ex-pats in many countries abroad – mostly in the Commonwealth. The real reason is the regulation 3 that is included in the Benefits Uprating which will happen again soon for effect next year and this is passed by the MP’s which will uprate 96% of all pensioners pensions leaving 4%, 560,000 ex-pat pensioners abroad with an effectively reduced pension.
    There are about 650,000 ex-pats also abroad who do get the increases meaning that the 4% are being discriminated against and there is no way that this can be described as anything but theft, immoral and unjustified especially in the light of the Charter of the Commonwealth which opposes all discrimination.

  3. Andy Robertson-Fox 25th September 2014 at 8:34 pm

    No, no, no the basic pension is not GBP113.10 per week but only GBP28.50 per week.

    Well it is if you retired in 1982 on full pension after working in the UK and making NI contributions for the required forty-four years qualifying and then retired to what is called a “frozen” country.

    Oh yes, retire in the UK an EEA country or one of sixteen select ones like Israel, Macedonia, the Philippines or even the USA and the annual index linking is automatic. Retire to Canada, Australia, South Africa, Thailand or one of the other one hundred and fifty Commonewealth and non-Commonwealth countries around the world and….no increases ever….after it becomes payable in the host country.

    These pensioners – there are over half a million – have contributed to the NI Scheme on the same terms as everyone else when working but are denied the right to withdraw on the same terms as everyone else in retirement.

    Little wonder that with such discimination the Shadow Minister doesn’t know how much the pension is……one even wonders whether she knows about this iniquitous frozen pension policy at all.

    But I am sure she and her staff are avid readers of WSJ so, Rachel, what would the Labour party do to abolish this irrational policy if elected to govern?

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