An unkind cut

British retirees, whether in Britain or here in Barbados, have received a financial wallop. It looks like some state pensions may have been substantially cut.

In some cases, according to colleagues in England, this reduction amounts to hundreds of pounds sterling per month. This dilemma facing the retirees in Britain may be no less stark than for those living here in Barbados and I daresay the rest of the region. There will be less money coming in, but continuing increases in the cost of living.

For those living here it may mean that reverse mortgages may seem a more attractive option. Living standards will surely fall. The UK government’s draconian measure should be a cautionary note to us here where the state pension, the NIS, may come under pressure in the future if governments continue to trade paper for cash. As loan guarantees to the NIS mount, might there come a time in the not-too-distant future when there is not enough cash to reverse the transaction and as a consequence pensions might have to be cut?

Let us not fool ourselves that “it can’t happen here”. If the time comes when the Government of the day has to go a similar route, who knows, they may try to package the need as “financial circumcision” and better for your health and not an unkind cut at all. The womenfolk may, however, scream — “mutilation”. — Michael Rudder

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