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Page last updated at 09:28 GMT, Thursday, 22 March 2012

Pensioners 'feel like sitting ducks'


Pensioners have reacted angrily after the Budget included a so-called "granny tax" which will see personal allowances frozen for some and cut for others when they turn 65 after next April.

Dr Ros Altmann, director general of the Saga Group, said that "decent middle pensioners, who never wanted to live on welfare but who have worked all their lives to get an income... feel like sitting ducks with no chance to protect themselves".

But Juliet Samuel, chief reporter for the financial daily CityAM, maintained that "we are facing a huge pension crisis" and that the current system was "unsustainable".

She believed that this was "only the tip of the iceberg for what will happen to pensioners in the future" because "no one has saved enough for the burden of old age to be sustained."

Ms Samuel went on to say that this was a "structural change that will cost pensioners money" but that George Osborne is trying to eliminate the distinction between the working population and the retired population which "we can no longer afford".

Dr Altmann insisted that "we are talking about people who did save hard" and that "what we fail to understand is that the message we're sending to younger generations is that if you bother to save to look after yourself you are a target for money to be taken from you".

But Juliet Samuel said she believed "the younger generation are having to pay for a debt fuel boom".

Both agreed that the chancellor's presentation of changes to personal allowances as a "mere simplification" was an "error of judgement".

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