The myth of the ‘poor pensioner’ helps shield the City


When the finance industry gets into trouble, it pleads that it is funding ordinary people’s retirements. It isn’t true

Pensioners are a useful defence in the City’s fight to preserve its privileges. Unwittingly they are wheeled out as human shields by the finance industry, and increasingly major corporations, to serve and protect probably the most powerful interests in the UK.

The over-65s – or in many cases the over-55s, given the extent of early retirement – function as a high wall against accusations of tax avoidance, financial plundering and executive enrichment, because the world’s pension funds are benefiting.

Individual shareholders own just 13.5% of the London stock market. UK pension funds own 2.4%. The largest slice is held by overseas investors, with 55%

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