My dear husband is not a Granny. And he’d better not be a Grandad for a very long time to come, given that our daughter is not yet a teenager. He is of an age to be affected by the so called “Granny Tax” eventually.
Now, you might, if you wish, feel a bit of sympathy for poor Bob. It must feel sometimes like George Osborne has pulled his name out of a hat and decided just to chip away at his income.
First he decided that in the year Bob reaches 65, the State Pension age will go up to 66 .
Then Gideon took his Child Benefit away, or will, briefly, due to a brief pre retirement spell at higher rate tax, the first such time in his life.
And now, he’s going to have to get by on the same personal tax allowance as everyone else. He won’t get an extra tax allowance for being over 65. When the starting point for paying tax was as low as five or six thousand, that was fair enough – but is a differential necessary when the tax threshold is significantly higher?
The figure I heard bandied about on the so called “Granny Tax” (what a cynical name, and patronising in the extreme) was that people stood to lose £83 a year. That’s around £1.60 a week. This year alone, Lib Dem Pensions Minister Steve Webb, by virtue of his Triple Lock, has raised the State Pension by the biggest cash amount ever, £5.30 a week. In addition, pensioners will be getting £140 a week in a couple of years’ time, up from the current round about £100 per week in State Pension.It’s worth saying, too, that people who only have the State Pension to live on don’t pay tax anyway. Pensioners also get free bus travel and a Winter Fuel Allowance from age 60 that many of them, including us, don’t actually need.
Bob certainly grumbled about having to wait an extra year for his Pension, but he sees it as a necessary evil. He’s also not wildly chuffed about losing Child Benefit especially when people who earn significantly more than he does will still get it. And the business of the tax allowance has barely bothered him at all. You see, he’s heard me go on incessantly for the last year about how the sick and disabled are losing their benefits. When there simply isn’t any spare cash for the Government to play with, the hit he’s being told he has to take does not seem unreasonable to him. He might grumble a little, but he knows it’s better than the alternative. And, unlike most pensioners, he’s seeing it in the context of having to put a child through university when he retires. Mind you, I think he’s banking on his much younger wife writing a best seller by then…
This whole “Granny Tax” furore, is inflated hyperbole and that relatively innocuous measure needs to be seen in context with the other benefits that pensioners have gained from the Liberal Democrat influence in this Government.