FORGIVE me if I seem angry, because I am – I am actually raging.

For the nth time in one day I hear the euphemism “generational rebalancing”, a cover term for saying “let’s fleece the pensioners, they’re well off, they can help the poor struggling young folk.” I am in no way denigrating the current young generation or dismissing the hard times they face, but is it not time to look at the detail behind these facile proposals?

First some questions. How many younger folk have reached their 24th birthday without ever having a holiday at all, anywhere?

How many had to pay for their wedding entirely out of their own earnings, including making their own wedding dress and the dresses of their bridesmaids?

How many have been saving for 10 years for the deposit on a house, and been doing without nights out as well as holidays?

How many have been paying rent while doing this or still staying with their parents?

This is typical of what the old folk of today had to cope with in their youth, without state help. So is it any wonder that, when they became a little more secure, they continued to watch their finances carefully to make sure they could save a little for their old age? After all, what would be the point in saving to own your home if poverty meant giving it up when you retired?

Yes, many pensioners do have savings, whether in the bank, in pension funds or even in a few shares, bought when work made small purchases possible and left to grow over the years. The hope was always that these would supplement the pittance pensions – about 30% of some European ones – so graciously donated by our Westminster government. Does this mean they are wealthy?

The level of UK pensions still leaves thousands of pensioners living in dire poverty. Savings in the bank would earn almost as much under the mattress; the annuities from Additional Voluntary Contributions now are worth little – £23 and some pence per month in a case I know; shares and investments have fallen since 2008 and now some are not even paying out at all. Old folk who believed they had provided for a number of years of comfortable retirement, and even perhaps later care, are seeing their hard-won savings rapidly disappear.

Why do these “experts” pontificating about wealthy pensioners forget that all these savings are from income AFTER tax, and if the income they provide now takes income above the personal allowance, they are taxed AGAIN at normal rates. Pensioners already pay their share if they are “wealthy”.

But we hear that the richest people in our country, with vast untaxed wealth in tax havens, have increased their wealth overall by £25 billion during the pandemic, while in many cases taking handouts from taxpayers. Are Rees-Mogg, Boris or any other members of the government among their number? I am sure some of their friends are. If any “rebalancing” in favour of the young is needed, would it not be better to start with these truly wealthy people by making them pay ALL their current dues, plus retrospective unpaid tax, as would be demanded of any ordinary taxpayer?

Also due to the pandemic, the government has saved money.

So many pensioners losing their lives will mean that they will have collected a state pension for far fewer years. There will also be among their number quite a few who died intestate, with no relatives, whose savings will now go to the government. Will they put that towards supporting the young?

And when the savings run out, years before expected through helping the young, who will pick up the tab to support the pensioners – our kind, generous state, from taxes on those same younger generations? Swings and roundabouts, anyone?

L McGregor