An open letter to Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance

An open letter to Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance

Dear Mr Isaby,

I believe you should either ask Alex Wild to resign or you should sack him. The comments he made about pensioners were incredibly offensive and his half hearted apology doesn’t begin to address the parts of his speech that we pensioners found most offensive. Most of us will not be dead by the next election, and we certainly won’t have forgotten who made this speech. As long as Mr Wild remains employed by the TaxPayers Alliance the organisation will be tainted by his views. In the UK, a pensioner dies of cold every 7 minutes. The winter fuel allowance saves lives.

At the EU Laeken summit in Belgium in 2001, there was a ratified proposal that all EU member States, of which Britain is one, should endeavour to attain a State pension level of 40% of their median wages as their basic state pension by 2007, and thereafter work toward 60%. Tony Blair’s government signed up to this then subsequently changed the UK state pension classification from an entitlement to a benefit, so they didn’t have to fulfil their commitment.

Since 2001 the UK state pension has actually declined as a percentage of median wage from over 30% to just below 23%. Many pensioners, mostly women, don’t even get this much as they don’t qualify for a full pension. The recent pay rise MPs enjoyed – £6,940, is actually higher than the UK state pension – £6,030. Even on a full pension, a UK pensioner with no other source of income is living below the poverty level. In the UK, pensioners are the biggest single group living in poverty, and two thirds of this group are women.

If the UK paid all pensioners an adequate pension, winter fuel allowance, free bus passes, the Christmas bonus, free TV licences etc would not be necessary – the pension would cover all these costs. Pensions are not a free ride; unlike other benefits, the pension is based on how much has been contributed. And remember, unlike other benefits, the pension is already taxable; “wealthy” pensioners are already means tested.


David Smith
Chair, NPC Devon