Friday, 15 June 2012


It is getting a little tiresome to hear from so-called experts on fiscal studies, of their focus on the elderly and their current benefits. It is so unfair that by these public comments they draw the attention of the remainder of the public to those of us unable to work nor even contribute to the large deficit allegedly inherited by the current Government.
Among other spotlights being brought to bear on the pensioners' so-called benefits are the Freedom Pass enjoyed by London Pensioners, Free Bus Travel by other Pensioners across the country, Free Prescriptions, the Free Television Licence and the Winter Fuel Allowance.
It is quite iniquitous that cuts should be aimed at a class of people unable to hit back either financially or through strikes and marches.
The most callous suggestion is that the Winter Fuel Allowance should come into the category of benefits not really needful, an attitude which has been exacerbated by celebrities and other public figures noisily giving away their allowance in a 'noble' gesture to the country because they say they are not really in need of this allowance. This noisy gesture has put in jeopardy this payment which has been given open handedly with no strings or means testing. Instead of making a grandiose show of their altruism, would it not be better for these noble folk to hand their allowance to Age Concern or Age UK quietly without fuss.
Since the Government may consider that one way of economising would be for the Winter Fuel Payment to be means tested or only given to those applying, would it not be a good idea that from the 1st October to the 31st March all central heating in the House of Commons, the House of Lords (which does have an elderly section of the public by virtue of that House's Members' age), all Council Chambers and all Civil Servant Offices, be turned off.
This would surely make a good saving, set a fine example of public responsibility and provide the sitters with a better perception of what it is like to be really cold and unable to do anything about it usually because of enforced immobility either through health or age. Try being old and cold. There's nothing like experience for greater understanding.
Our fiscal experts should remember that this generation of pensioners have put more into the National Pot than any other section of society because having lived longer, their contributions were greater. One of the betrayals was that having been promised a pension which would be linked to wages or prices, whichever was the higher, a previous Conservative Government under Mrs. Thatcher, broke this promise of a link and the following Labour Government were even more treacherous by not reversing the actions of that previous Tory Government. Pensioners have been let down by both parties and talk of taking away or means testing a heating allowance, is no less a betrayal than the breaking of the Link. It is pernicious to suggest that in these hard times the Pensioners have not had inroads made to their quality of life as others have. That so-called quality is already under attack by rising food prices, heavier utility bills and telephone costs. It is now costly to ring Telephone Directories even before one makes a call.
Leave what little we get alone.

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