Open season on pensioners
IDS suggests that better-off pensioners return their age-related benefits: free bus travel, winter fuel payments and free tv licences. Cleggster, meanwhile, wants to means-test them. The Guardian spoke against changes to pensioner’s benefits.
This is simply mendacious, because the savings proposed would be a drop in the ocean compared with the overall welfare budget.
The “drop” is quite sizeable in my opinion: £3 bilion on winter fuel payments and £1.4 billion for bus passes. Every little helps, after all.
At the same time, we are turning the lives of vulnerable people into a nightmare in the name of austerity and social justice for even less money:
– DLA to PIP migration saves only £1 billion and takes away the last vestiges of dignity and independence from profoundly disabled people
– £465 million “saved” through the bedroom tax (which will backfire due to administration costs); also affects mainly the disabled the disabled
– £230 million saved thanks to making people under 35 (including the disabled) ineligible to rent a one bedroom flat privately while the shared room accommodation rate is too low to pay for a room
– £51 million on benefit cap
– £350 on legal aid
Not to mention, the government making it hard to get off benefits by abolishing the housing and council tax benefit run-on. Or the fact that people who receive £71 a week in JSA have to pay for their heating and transport while pensioners get twice as much and receive winter fuel payments, free bus passes and discounted rail travel.
While we are fighting for scraps, the millionaire’s Cabinet enjoys subsidised food, alcohol, second homes and expenses. All in it together? Aye, right.
Some people were enraged that this is happening – we should respect the elderly after all: they worked all their lives and should enjoy their pensions (obviously there were no scroungers in that generation). To me, however, it is quite bitter-sweet how the government they chose on the basis of the election promises of income protection is turning right against them.
One of the comments on Guardian says:
“If wealthier retirees are applying for monies they don’t need, or being automatically granted monies, then tackle them. Instead of the softening up propaganda that is starting to emerge hit the conscience of those people who don’t even know they get the £200 winter fuel allowance. That just disappears in their bank statements. I look for mine to make sure it’s there.”
What on earth? You suddenly have an extra 200 quid in your bank and do not know it? It disappears? Please, tell me more about how little money you have that a whole £200 goes unnoticed. If anything, then surely, that’s an argument in favour of scrapping the scheme (or at least means-testing it) – you cannot miss something you never knew you had.