Friday, 7 December 2007


The figures in this Daily Mail article, partly (I think not wholly) based on this Lib Dem release, are absurd.

First, pensioners do not "now receive less than in 1950" - they receive, if you believe the numbers (and they seem reasonable) a smaller proportion of the average wage. We might - I do - think it should be higher, but we shouldn't pretend it actually means a smaller amount of money.

Second, their conversions to today's money should hae alarm bells ringing. Can it really be true that the average wage, apparently 7.08 pounds a week in 1950, is equivalent to 499 pounds a week today, only slightly less than the current average wage of 549 pounds a week? Of course it isn't, even allowing for a smaller % of people in the labour force (and hence higher wages for those who were). In fact the correct figure is that 7 pounds a week is equivalent to 165 pounds a week today, and the pension of 1950 equivalent to about 31 pounds a week, less than half today's level.