Wednesday, 22 March, 2017
Tories get Grim Reaper to work for them

By accident or design, the Government appears to have come up with a strategy to cut payments to pensioners--- use the NHS and social services to kill off a slice of the baby boomers currently reaching pensionable age.

Ironically, the story about the baby boomers retiring in droves and putting huge pressure on the welfare state is just that: a story, a fiction.

But the Government appears to be taking it deadly seriously.

Prior to the last general election all the experts used to believe that life expectancy was rising more or less inexorably. In the decade ended 2013 men were living an extra three years and women had 2.3 years added to their life span. This is quite a remarkable improvement in just ten years. It's as if, for men, three of the ten years simply didn't count so far as their body clock was concerned. They only aged by seven years!

What could have brought such an incredible trend to a dead halt and reversed it?

Economist March 16th 2017
There are a number of possibilities but most of them have been ruled out. The uptick has not affected mortality rates in other European countries. Recent winters have not been unusually severe. The rise in rates of diabetes, obesity and "liefstyle" diseases has been flat since 2010.

What is left as the most likely cause is the 8.4% cut in spending on social care (in real terms) since 2011 plus the increasing pressure on NHS budgets.

The Government has described this analysis as "a triumph of personal bias over research" but has failed to come up with a plausible alternative explanation merely relying on the Nelsonian 'I see no ships' ploy, claiming the problem does not exist.

But the people who have to put their money where their mouths are, for example risk management companies, are unconvinced this is just a blip. "We have developed a new model," Stephen Caine of Willis Towers Watson, told the Economist. "That suggests the recent slowdown might continue into the future."
Posted by Jonathan Brind.
Wednesday, 22 March, 2017