Well we here at Solidarity have said it for ages but now it is official: the British state pension (at a maximum £110.15 a week) is the worst in Europe. Compared to average income, even Hungary and Slovenia better the pension benefits 12.3m British pensioners receive, according to a new OECD report. In the developed world, only Mexicans receive less proportionately from the State pension than British workers!
The average European State pension is worth 40.6% of average earnings. If you want to retire comfortably on State coffers compared to those in work, one of the best countries is Austria, at 76.6% - or the Netherlands, even better, at 90.7%. Italian workers can expect 70% of their working salary from the Italian government when they retire. British workers on average earnings typically get a state pension worth only 32.6% of their working wage.
Many Europeans also retire earlier than their British counterparts.
So what would a more realistic level of state pension income look like? The British state pension should be set at £178 a week if it is to be a proper 'living State pension', the National Pensioners Convention assert.
Current plans fall far short of that. The present policy is to introduce a flat rate UK pension of around £144 come 2016, worth just under £7,500 a year, though even then there is a sting in the tail - you will need to have worked up 35 years worth of National Insurance contributions to qualify (rather than the current 30).
Pat Harrington, the General Secretary of Solidarity commented:-
“I believe that British workers are being swindled on pensions and are heading for hard times in retirement. If the system doesn’t work shouldn’t we change it?”