"It is "unacceptable" that two million pensioners in the UK are still living in poverty, a group of MPs says.Sounds laudable? But what is the definition of "pensioner poverty"? A little further down we learn that
The Work and Pensions Committee says the figure is a third lower than it was in 1997, but wants ministers to commit to ending pensioner poverty altogether. "
"One in five pensioners in the UK are classed as living in relative poverty. "So "pensioner poverty" is a relative measure; relative to what? If it is relative to other pensioners then how can "pensioner poverty" ever be ended?
The article includes this:
"Committee chairman Terry Rooney said: "The government has committed to eradicating child poverty, now they need to commit to eradicating pensioner poverty."I know "child poverty" is a relative measure and so eradicable, is the same true for "pensioner poverty"?
The BBC bring in a quotation from the Labour minister who is willing to spout some tractor stats:
"Responding to the report, Pensions Minister Angela Eagle said more than 900,000 pensioners had been lifted out of poverty since 1997."A definition of "lifted out of poverty" would be useful and also a figure for how many pensioners had "fallen into poverty" since 1997; somehow I don't think Angela Eagle is quoting a net figure.
Of course this story is really about something else entirely; it's about Gordon Brown being able to say that whilst Labour wants to end "pensioner poverty", the old-Etonian Conservatives want to impoverish all pensioners. The BBC know this and are happily complicit.