Gransnet forums


Mr Chancellor Osbourne

(50 Posts)
Biker Mon 24-Jun-13 06:31:46

Why are you considering cutting the Winter Fuel allowance, Bus Pass scheme and Free TV licences?
The savings will be pence compared to the debts your government have run up and smack of bullying and peevishness towards a group that has given their whole lives to work and taxes.

Bez Mon 24-Jun-13 07:51:12

Maybe just 'because he can'. I have sort of got used to getting the flack from every quarter now. Whatever the problem it is always the old/ older/ pensioners that are causing or exacerbating the problem and we are to some degree an easy target BUT I think that maybe they forget that when you start to draw the pension you are entitled to, you do not suddenly lose your brains/intelligence or power of speech!! Neither do you lose the ability to put the cross where it hurts at the next election!!!

Iam64 Mon 24-Jun-13 08:53:17

I've been a bit shocked by the level of vitriol aimed at "wealthy pensioners" "the baby boomers who've been so lucky and used up all the resources" " go on endless holidays abroad" etc so often voiced on other sites, and during phone in discussions. This government successfully set an agenda where anyone in receipt of benefits is seen as a possible scrounger. Winter fuel allowance etc are benefits, the state pension is not. Like others, I worked all my life, paid full stamp throughout the period when married women had an option and so on. I receive the basic state pension, and thank goodness paid into another scheme from the age of 28 - 62 so I don't have to manage on a state pension alone. I give my winter fuel allowance to charity, but currently I can afford to and that's my choice. I am certain that in future, people like me won't get the state pension, despite paying tax/national insurance throughout our working lives. I agree with Biker, the cost of means testing should be prohibitive, but it won't be. Yes Bez, we haven't lost the power to analyse, evaluate and vote.

vegasmags Mon 24-Jun-13 10:15:33

I see that Ed Balls will also review the winter fuel payment, if elected. I think I'm right (and no doubt will be corrected if not!) in saying that the payment was introduced by Tont Blair as a response to the number of pensioners dying of cold in their own homes. It is hard to see that higher rate tax payers would be at risk of this. I would like to see the universal payment scrapped and replaced by a fuel allowance for those living in fuel poverty, be they pensioners, young families or the disabled. Following as I do the forums on Martin Lewis's Money Saving Expert, it was very sad to read last winter of the straits that people were in and the hardship they suffered in the cold weather.

FlicketyB Mon 24-Jun-13 10:20:37

Personally, I would like to see all these bells and whistles go. instead replace it with an increase in the state pension. Wealthier pensioners would pay tax, even higher rate tax, on the increase and we could make our own spending decisions. Bus passes only help those who have buses to catch and are fit enough to do so. Those in rural areas with no buses or the disabled cannot benefit from this 'benefit'.

Movedalot Mon 24-Jun-13 10:59:30

All three major parties have said more or less the same thing but I don't think any of them have clearly defined exactly what they would do. I suspect it is a flyer to see what reaction they get.

It seems to be forgotten that the WFA was originally brought in instead of raising the state pension as it should have been at the time. It should therefore not be seen as a benefit imo.

I think the bus pass is only charged when actually used so those who have it should not be penalised. I doubt if the very rich even apply for one! The cost of looking after a lot of people who never go out because they can't afford the bus fare would imo outweigh any savings made. I heard that some elderly people use their bus passes in the cold weather to go places where they can be warm at no cost rather than having their heating on at home.

Rather than take away the free TV licenses perhaps the age could be raised in line with the rise in pension age?

I agree that the WFA should be added to the pension, it would save on admin costs and those who pay tax would be taxed on it. Much cheaper and simpler than any sort of means testing.

speck123 Mon 24-Jun-13 11:41:46

Just wait and see! The `rich pensioners`idea that is floated will suddenly hit those who felt they were `just getting by`.
Hitting the really rich pensioners would save little because there arent that many of them. Therefore the axe will need to fall much lower down the pensioner earnings scale to `garner` enough in savings.

So start protesting because it won`t be `just the rich` who get hit.
Start asking how much savings have been made in parliament since the terrible `benefits scandal` of MPs who get a salarly, expenses, benefits, cheap meals and drinks, golden good-byes and tit-bits of info that help them decide how and where to place their finances (shares etc).

Perhaps we should `means test` MPs and force those who are millionaires to pay the `going rate` for their parliamentary freebies in future.

The `grey vote` is all powerful and we are a growing number BUT we need to become `floating voters` NOT those who vote for a Party because we always have done. Use your vote as a carrot to force betterment for pensioners!

Eloethan Mon 24-Jun-13 17:58:26

speck123 Absolutely. Why are MPs getting so much subsidised stuff when a significant proportion of them are very wealthy?

Of course, it's a continuation of this government's strategy to turn people against one another - now it's the pensioners' turn.

I'm sick of hearing how we must have cuts because of the deficit. It's the ordinary people in this country who go to work, create wealth or provide a service to those creating wealth - and pay their taxes. It's the mega wealthy, the spivs and speculators who have brought all these countries to their knees and yet it is the ordinary citizens that are expected to forego little luxuries like heating, water and food to put things right.

Our finance system needs a radicial overhaul. If you're interested, look at for more information.

Movedalot Tue 25-Jun-13 11:27:42

speck you are so right. I don't think this is a party political issue, I think they are all floating the idea to see how much flak flies. No difference between any of them. I'll write to my (useless) MP

annodomini Tue 25-Jun-13 12:10:19

Their latest target is the free TV licence for over 75s. I'm not happy about this, but if anything has to go I'd prefer to lose this rather than the WFA. I pay for a TV licence now and see no reason for assuming I won't be able to afford it when I turn 75. Perhaps they could be persuaded to give us a reduced cost licence rather than cut it altogether - a bit like a senior's rail card.

Movedalot Tue 25-Jun-13 12:15:11

anno I would prefer them to add the cost of the TV license to the pensions of those over whatever age they decide. That would save some admin and it any of those people don't actually have a TV they would be a little better off. If they did that all these supposedly wealthy pensioners would be taxed on it.

Does anyone know how many of these 'wealthy' pensioners there are? Is it a smokescreen so they can penalise the 'average' pensioner?

feetlebaum Tue 25-Jun-13 12:49:21

But anno - I turned 75 a year ago - I have been using the TV Licence money to fund my incredibly opulent life-style since then... the Red Biddy flows like water, and the place is ablaze with light (if I leave the bulb in the kitchen on). Hot and cold running air stewardesses... I can't give all that up!

annsixty Tue 25-Jun-13 18:36:23

feetle I havn't heard the expression Red Biddy for many a year. I had a friend,now dead, who had one in the middle of the morning instead of a coffee. I think I will take it up now that you have suggested using our "benefits" Good thinking that man.

Ella46 Tue 25-Jun-13 19:18:23

Oh feetle Do tell.............what on earth is 'Red Biddy'? grin
Sounds scary!

Ana Tue 25-Jun-13 19:19:10

Is it anything like 'Red Bush'? confused

annsixty Tue 25-Jun-13 19:58:36

It,"rough red wine", all we could afford years ago. I hope feetle also means that.

annsixty Tue 25-Jun-13 20:10:02

It was also so cheap you took your own bottle to the Off License and got it filled from a barrel!!

celebgran Tue 25-Jun-13 20:13:40

Not problem to me as I have to wait until 66 to get my pension! Another 8 years I may not evenbe here! Does seem tad unfair that mileposts keep moving!

KatyK Wed 26-Jun-13 15:31:24

Just been watching the news with the spending cuts being announced.
They are stopping the winter fuel payments for expats living in warm countries. Is it just me? Why were they getting it in the first place?

Greatnan Wed 26-Jun-13 15:59:24

Because they had paid tax and NI contributions and still pay tax on government service pensions? It is ludicrous to think you can lump every region of huge countries like France and Spain together. It gets pretty cold in Brittany! And the Alps!

Aka Wed 26-Jun-13 16:51:22

Absolutely. I went to visit my daughter in norther Turkey at Easter and it was freezing cold and snowing. Is this classified as a hot country?

KatyK Wed 26-Jun-13 17:08:03

I fully agree that they should get their pensions - of course, they have paid in like the rest of us. But the fuel allowances is an 'extra' isn't it?
To help pay fuel bills here for folks who are struggling. I realise it isn't
means tested and everyone gets it but maybe I am a bit naive, I didn't think for a minute you would get it if you moved to a warm climate. I'm being a bit thick I think.

JessM Wed 26-Jun-13 17:22:12

Not exactly going to make much of a hole in the deficit is it, cutting wfa for the expats!

Mamie Wed 26-Jun-13 17:26:58

I think it depends how you define warm KatyK. Here in Normandy our winters are much colder than when we lived in England (Bournemouth). Once you start having to judge whether somewhere is cold enough then it sounds as if it could be expensive to administer. I tend to think it should be rolled into the pension so wealthier pensioners pay tax on it. There are people living here who struggle to manage on very small pensions, which may be why they moved abroad where property and land for growing your own food is much cheaper than the UK. It won't bother us, but I know quite a few people who will notice the difference.

JessM Wed 26-Jun-13 17:46:06

I agree mamie terribly complicated to administer and will probably cost more than they recover.
I also think he should just make the universal benefits taxable and be done with it. Winter fuel, tv licence etc have a set monetary value.
And why not assume an average value to prescriptions plus free eye tests (say £300 pa for instance), add it to the income at tax form stage and those who pay tax will pay at their normal rate.
If the country cannot afford to give universal benefits to the better off pensioners then would this not be the simplest way to proceed? Then the poorer all get the benefits and the wealthier get 75% or 60% of them with the rest back to the treasury via income tax.
Cheaper to administer and fairer than starting to chip away here and there.