Whether you believe that austerity IS working or not depends on your definition of a desirable outcome. If it was to ensure that the ‘trickle down effect’ relieved poverty amongst the sofa resident young, or poured more money into the Government’s coffers – then it certainly has had startling results.
When the jobs market peaked in April 2008, a record 690,000 pensioners were working. As a result of the subsequent economic slump which resulted in derisory interest rates and negligible returns on annuities, over a million pensioners have thrown out their Zimmer frame, and climbed over the eager bodies of economic migrants – not to mention the prone bodies of the 16-25s wailing that ‘there are no jobs’ – and snapped up those ‘impossible to find’ jobs!
The effect this has had on the over 65s who should have been quietly tending their roses, if only they could afford to, is shown in the figures released by Public Health England this week.
An unexpected additional 600 altruistic pensioners a week have been dutifully popping their clogs, leaving their jobs free for the young, ensuring that their sofa bound younger relatives receive a bounty that will keep them in crisps and Sky subscriptions for a few more years yet, and stuffing their inheritance tax into the Government’s coffers at an exceptional rate. Pensions saved, not to mention relieving the burden on the Health service. And they say the old do nothing for the young! What greater sacrifice can a pensioner make than to lay down his life for his country?
Cumulated deaths per week are averaging around 10,500 which is around six hundred more than would be expected as the cumulated average after six months of the year. Analysts at Public Health England say that the rise in death rates is statistically significant. Every year there are almost half a million deaths and the trend has persisted for more than a year, making it unlikely to be a result of chance. The statistics are unconnected to the more controversial hospital death rates. Those relying on home carers or scared about having to move care homes might have been tipped into crisis. Problems in getting into hospital through A&E and out again to social care have also worsened. But there is no firm evidence for this.
Needless to say, the talking heads are already turning this statistic to their (various) political advantages.