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Update – UK Pensioners Guaranteed An Increase Of At Least 5.5%

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12:53 (September 13) – According to at least one expert, UK pensioners can expect an increase of at least 5.5 per cent due to a “locked in” element.

Head of Pensions at Aegon Kat Smith told the Express that: “Under the triple lock, the state pension rises annually at the highest of earnings growth, total pay for three months to July, price inflation September CPI figure, or 2.5 per cent a year.

“With inflation into double-digits, average earnings of 5.5 per cent isn’t expected to be the deciding factor in next April’s state pension increase. 

“The state pension is likely to increase by around double this at over 10 per cent, confirmed in September’s inflation figure published next month.”

That means that the government could look to the lower of the two options, real-term wage growth in setting next year’s increase. Although no indication has been given by the government whether it will honour the triple lock, there is pressure on government finances after the recent announcement to subsidise the energy price cap.

According to the latest figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) wages grew by 5.2 per cent excluding bonuses and 5.5 per cent including bonuses. As real wage increases are one of the elements of the triple lock, the government would be compelled to go no lower than this figure if they were to honour the agreement.

Pensioners will be looking to the government to honour the full agreement with inflation rising above 10 per cent and predicted to go higher, but the real wage increase element will offer some comfort and an indication of the lower end of any offer.

It remains to be seen whether new Prime Minister Liz Truss is prepared to honour the triple lock and whether she values the “OAP” vote.


8:05 (September 3) – Is the future of the UK’s state pension triple lock in doubt, the question on everyone’s lips as the country waits for the outcome of the Tory leadership contest.

According to a report by the Daily Express on Saturday, September 3 the triple lock may be under threat despite assurances from the two leading candidates.

Temporarily suspended earlier this year by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, the triple lock quite simply may be unaffordable in the short term.

Current financial pressures and the possibility of the UK going into recession later this year, suggest that the government may be forced to rethink the guarantee for the second year in a row.

With pensioners the hardest hit by the rise in the cost of living, the government is under increasing pressure to help out this group. However, with pensions funded by current revenue, it may simply be unaffordable with estimates putting a ten per cent increase at a cost of more than £10 billion (€11.5 billion) annually.

That cost say experts is what may force the government’s hand, especially whilst calls remain in place to help out the general population with energy bills. The saving grace may be increased tax receipts from energy companies that are recording super profits currently.

Some experts, like Andrew Tully, Technical Director at Canada Life who spoke to the Express, believe that the triple lock may be affordable for now. Whether it is affordable, is dependent on what line the future prime minister chooses to follow with front-runner Liz Truss promising to cut taxes.

There are also huge question marks over how the incoming social care reforms will be funded as well other programmes like levelling up. Quite simply according to Jon Greer, Head of Retirement Policy at Quilter “Something may have to give.”

According to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), every percentage point added to the pension amounts to around £900 million (€1,040 million) annual cost for the exchequer. Shaving one per cent off any pension increase could be a massive saving for the government, as would any further move to raise the pensionable age.

What is clear is that most experts believe the incoming prime minister will have a massive balancing act to perform, particularly if they are to meet all the promises made in the run-up to the election.

Pensioners will hope that the one promise they stick to is the future of the UK’s state pension triple lock, only time will tell.


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Russian Draftees And Their Families To Be Paid Lump Sums Of Up To 300,000 Rubles

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Russian draftees and their families are to be paid handsome sums, in Russian terms, according to state media site Kommersant.

A report by the media company said that authorities in regions where servicemen are being drafted are offering them and their families lump sums in compensation for their being drafted. Sums of up to 300,000 rubles (€5,300) are being offered whilst monthly wages of up to six times the average wage are being offered.

The Head of the Sakhalin region Valery Ponomarenko told Kommersant: “At this difficult time, we must do everything so that the families of Sakhalin and Kuril residents called up for service do not need anything. We will provide them with the necessary assistance and support until their fathers, husbands and sons return home.”

Payments will be made to:

  • wife of a called citizen,
  • his parents, if he does not have a lawful spouse,
  • his children, if he does not have a legal spouse and parents.

Social media reports suggest that not Russians are not willing draftees, but the offer of money will help to appease loved ones in deprived areas who don’t want their partners, sons and fathers to be sent to the front.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for 300,000 reservists to be called up, claiming that these men are shooters, artillerymen, tankers, mechanics and drivers. Footage online suggests few have such skills and that they are in danger of being sent into active service with little or no training.

Russian draftees and their families have, however, little say in the matter and face the choice of jail or the army.


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UPDATE: Iran's Army Vows To Crush The Demonstations And Deal With The Instigators

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14:30 (September 24) – Iran’s army vowed on a day that pro-government demonstrations were staged following Friday’s prayers.

The pro-government rallies called for an end to the protests with some calling for the execution of those involved. As with past demonstrations against the government the army has threatened to step and in to bring the organisers to “justice.”

That could see the demonstrations and the open defiance of clerics and the morality police come to an end, but posts by locals say this time feels different with the extent of feeling far deeper than during previous riots.


12:50 (September 24) – Human Rights Watch has accused the Iranian government of detaining journalists in an effort to stop coverage of the increasing number and size of protests that are sweeping the country.

Attempts have been made by the leadership to shut down access to social media sites without success and now they are targeting journalists as they seek to hide what is happening in the country. But the news is getting out and the anger within the country is growing in scenes reminiscent of the deposal of the Shah.

Iranian regime is arresting journalists faster than ever. It’s another effort to hide the truth https://t.co/3z7ajmPcqG

— Frida Ghitis (@FridaGhitis) September 23, 2022


12:20 (September 24) – At least 35 people have died during protests against the Iranian regime following the death of Mahsa Aminii (21) in police custody.

The report on Saturday, September 24 by AFP News Media follows three consecutive nights of protests and running battles that have seen locals pitted against Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

Posts online show many scenes of women abandoning the restrictive headdress and clothing that they are ordered to wear by the clerical rulers in a show of absolute defiance. Ordinarily, such displays would be dealt with swiftly by the so-called morality police, but as they are the target of investigations into the young woman’s death and the ensuing protests they have all but disappeared from the streets.

Despite attempts to crack down on protestors, the number of cities, towns and villages affected has grown to almost 100. Statues of leaders are being toppled and burned in scenes reminiscent of the Arab Spring some years back, and police stations and vehicles are being targeted in increasingly violent attacks.

Courageous protestors in Iran have taken control of the city of Oshnavieh, chanting “Freedom” and “Death to the Dictator.”

Please be the voice of Iranian people. #MahsaAmini #IranProtests2022 #IranRevolution #مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/i8ih5wui2f

— Dr. Nina Ansary (@drninaansary) September 24, 2022

Although Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has said that the case will be investigated, this has done little to quell the riots or the level of anger towards the government and the police.

What makes this uprising different is that in a world where women are treated as second-class citizens, men are taking to the street in support of those protesting Aminii’s death. At the same time, women are throwing caution to the wind and are discarding traditional wear and openly flaunting their “newfound freedom.”

Poesia: la dona iraniana asseguda sense mocador davant els antiavalots, mentre sona “El poble unit mai serà vençut” en farsi. I els silèncis còmplices de molts que callen la vulneració de drets elementals. #IranProtests2022

pic.twitter.com/vi43EZeeOp

— Enric Morera (@enricmorera) September 23, 2022

That open defiance is spilling over into everyday life with women and men increasingly defying clerics and chasing them away, accusing them of having no morals.

Mujeres valientes grabando a clérigos que les intentan obligar a que se pongan el velo en Irán. ¡Y no lo consiguen!

Las protestas están dando resultados poco a poco y el miedo se está reduciendo. pic.twitter.com/DPU0jtON4q

— #PorQuéTT (@xqTTs) September 23, 2022

The news that at least 35 people have died in the protest will only add fuel to the situation, which at this time shows no sign of abating. How long and how far protestors are prepared to go is the question on everyone’s lips, as it is what the international pariah government is prepared to do to hang on to power.


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BREAKING: Russian General Responsible For Logistics Relieved Of His Post

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Russian state media Kommersant reported that Dmitry Bulgakov has been relieved of his post as Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation.

Bulgakov was in charge of logistics for the Russian defence force and was directly responsible for ensuring that equipment and supplies were sent to the frontline, when and where they needed it.

In the post since 2008, the general is the latest to be relieved of his duties suggesting that recriminations continue in the Kremlin as Putin and his inner circle work to rid themselves of those they believe are responsible for the failures in Ukraine.

The army nor the government have said what will happen to Bulgakov, with some suggestion that he is to be moved elsewhere. 

Bulgakov will be replaced by Mikhail Mizintsev who previously served as head of the National Defense Control Centre. Mizintsev handled the evacuation from Mariupol.

The removal of the Russian general responsible for logistics comes as the country experiences further losses in Ukraine, and as the police round those that have been drafted into the army as part of Putin’s call for partial mobilisation. That has resulted in many people fleeing the country whilst others look for ways to escape the draft.


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