The biggest story this week is one that got very little attention.
The Telegraph told us: ‘The UK will have 9million more pensioners within the next 50 years, official figures have shown.
‘The number of people aged over 65 will nearly double to more than 20million by 2066, according to the Office for National Statistics.
‘The biggest increase will be in the over-85s age group, which will more than treble.
‘The number of new pensioners will be enough to fill a new city the size of London. They will have to face the problem of a “chronically underfunded” social care system, a leading charity has warned.
‘Meanwhile, the proportion of people aged 16 to 64 is expected to grow by just 5 per cent.’
This, together with the fact that like the rest of Europe, England and Wales have a negative fertility rate, spells bad news for the future. In 2017, the total fertility rate (TFR) declined for the fifth consecutive year to 1.76 children per woman, down from 1.81 in 2016. The replacement fertility rate is 2.1. The figure for Scotland is set out separately, but their fertility rate is even lower. The only reason the UK population continues to grow is because of immigration.
So what exactly are we going to do with 20million pensioners by 2066, especially the over-85s? Many might be able to work until 70, even 75, but until 80 seems ambitious. The burden on the NHS and social care will continue to grow and there simply will not be enough young people to keep going the Ponzi scheme that is the welfare state – unless the government plans to import more workers to keep the show on the road.
All the favourite taxes of the Left, the bankers’ tax, Amazon tax, etc etc, will only scratch the surface; they would be used up in one month of social care necessary to keep 20million pensioners in basic dignity.
In addition, if you increase tax on those who earn the most they will vote with their feet and leave – something that in this globalised world is easier than ever to do. This report does consider the future of an ageing population, but we have heard very little since.
I suspect that thousands of these pensioners will be warehoused in nursing homes, looked after by underpaid immigrant carers. In truth, there is no plan for the long-term future. The only plan is to continue borrowing without reforming the welfare state as those in power today will not have to worry about 2050. It will be a grim retirement for some.