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Mr Chancellor Osbourne

(51 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.

Movedalot Wed 26-Jun-13 17:48:34

I think they would have liked to stop the WFA for everyone outside the UK but can't because of EU rules so this is the next best thing.

Yes, Mamie I suggested that too, put it on the pension and they would get more back in tax than they will by taking it off the ex-pats. Most of us would pay tax on it I suspect and all those millions of wealthy pensioners would pay even more tax grin

Greatnan Wed 26-Jun-13 17:58:44

We have pointed out that different regions of large countries vary enormously in their climate, so I fail to see how it could possibly work. Who would monitor the average temperature in each area - would it work like the current cold weather payment in the UK?
When a UK citizen enters into a contract with the government to pay taxes and NI contributions throughout their working life, there is no mention that any part of that contract depends on where they live after retirement and that includes any 'benefits' that are universal.

Greatnan Wed 26-Jun-13 17:59:26

Of course, many pensioners who live abroad are far from wealthy.

KatyK Wed 26-Jun-13 18:01:32

Thanks for explaining it all. I had no idea.

absent Wed 26-Jun-13 20:07:57

Terrible snow drifts in Otago in the South Island where volunteers are helping sheep farmers make paths for the starving snowbound sheep to move lower down the slopes. Storms have caused several days of power outage in Wellington (North Island). I can see snow on the top of the ranges from my windows but we had lunch sitting outside on the deck yesterday. How on earth is anyone expected to come up with a sensible way of working out who needs and doesn't need the winter fuel allowance.

absent Wed 26-Jun-13 20:08:48

p.s. It's winter in New Zealand, in case you hadn't realised.

Lyndie Wed 26-Jun-13 20:20:59

Even the full pension you can't live on. I still work, pay tax and bail my children out financially subsidising the employers and government. Many of us want to carry on working but there is ageism as well. We can't win. Voting for a party gets you nowhere. I think the government is out of its depth, squanders our money. Which they seem to think is theirs. Europe costs us too much in all ways. We just want it for trading. It hasn't worked. Sorry about my rant. Don't get me onto fuel costs!

Charleygirl Wed 26-Jun-13 21:42:05

I think that the £10 Christmas bonus must cost a fortune to administer. Why not add it on to our state pensions?

Reddevil3 Wed 26-Jun-13 22:13:51

I think that £10 Christmas bonus is an insult. What on earth can you buy with that?
Re. WFA for expats- I lived in southern Spain for many years. The houses/ apartments are built for a warm climate- ie no insulation. All the floors are stone or marble- very chilly. Even though the days may be sunny during some of the winter months, as soon as the sun goes down at about 4pm. it can be very cold. I used 3 electric fires to keep warm and wrapped myself in a blanket in the evenings. Electricity is extremely expensive there so I really think that if you qualify for a pension, you should get the WFA.

JessM Thu 27-Jun-13 07:18:44

Lets face it WFA as a universal benefit was a terrible idea that no government will be able to get out of without flak. If they put all that money into insulating pensioners homes it would have been much better spent. The lack of insulation and adequate winter heating in this country is still a scandal. Taking it off some expats just highlights what a mess it all is.
Perhaps more interesting is that GO has protected the state pension despite cutting nearly everywhere else.
There will be hell to pay with the teaching and other public sector unions regarding the removal of their annual increments. A poison chalice for Labour if they win the next election I suppose.
Also busy committing next gov to huge infrastructure spend...

JessM Thu 27-Jun-13 07:20:51

Sorry - absent poor old NZ. Their houses are far colder and less adequately heated than ours are generally speaking. No fun living in a greenhouse with only an electric or paraffin heater as I have experienced in their capital city.

Ceesnan Thu 27-Jun-13 07:37:05

Come on GNetters, 'fess up! Who didn't know that if it is summer in Britain it's winter in NZ?grin

JessM Thu 27-Jun-13 07:53:45

You'd be surprised ceesnan how often, when I say I am going to visit my kids down under, the person I am talking to seems to assume either a/ that the season is the same as here. Or b/ that there will be wall to wall sunshine everywhere down under, whatever time of year.
When DH was in Hong Kong and there was an earthquake in Japan his aunts were ringing his mum to ask if he was OK hmm

Aka Thu 27-Jun-13 08:04:22

Well knock me down with a kiwi feather, you'll be telling us next it's getting towards the end of the day there soon shock

absent Thu 27-Jun-13 08:11:22

JessM All new houses in New Zealand must have double glazing and, generally speaking, are brick built. Modern heat pumps are extraordinarily efficient. People living in unmodernized old houses will have problems - just like people who live in unmodernized old houses in the UK or anywhere else.

Charleygirl Thu 27-Jun-13 08:21:33

Am I correct in saying that if one retires to New Zealand, Australia or anywhere out of the EU that one's state pension never increases? Is that true? If so, it is very unfair.

Aka Thu 27-Jun-13 08:37:57

You may be correct

Greatnan Thu 27-Jun-13 10:54:12

You are correct, Charleygirl - it is because the UK does not have a reciprocal agreement with many Commonwealth countries. When I emigrate to NZ, my state retirement pension will be frozen. Fortunately, my Teacher's and Civil Service pensions are occupational pensions and will continue to share whatever meagre increase UK residents get!

Absent - I am very interested to hear that double glazing is now available in NZ - my daughter really needs it as her bedroom is at the front and, as you know, some big lorries use that road through Wakefield.

People can be remarkably confused about distances - I got lots of messages asking if my family were O.K. at the time of the Christchurch earthquake, which was about 250 miles from Wakefield. It was nice of them to be concerned, though! I also get asked why I don't go to see the Valley of the Kings when I am at a Red Sea resort - it would take a five hour coach ride across the desert! Egypt is a big country.

HUNTERF Thu 27-Jun-13 11:54:44

Why should rich pensioners lose any of their benefits.
They have mainly paid more in tax so if anything they should get bigger benefits.
Also there are other problems.
Somebody could have only a basic state pension and may inherit say £2,000,000 at 70.
Would his £2,000,000 stop him getting some of his benefits?.


FlicketyB Thu 27-Jun-13 16:30:13


The answer is yes, and why not? We have a graduated tax system in this country that is meant to be distributive. That means it takes more tax from better off people and distributes them to poorer people who are in need and I for one would not have it any other way.

I am comfortably off and so is DH, neither of us were in professions or industries to have your immaculate pension record but by luck and good judgement we have been able to retire in considerable comfort and I would willingly pay extra tax so that those less fortunate in society, of any age, were better cared for.

HUNTERF Thu 27-Jun-13 16:34:05


Yes but what about people who do not want to pay for people less fortunate than themselves.
What your earn is your own.


FlicketyB Thu 27-Jun-13 17:34:07

We are a democracy in this county and over the years the majority of people have voted for governments that, overall, support a distributive tax system.

Of course some people will disagree with this. I do not think anybody has ever agreed with everything either any particular government has done or what the majority approves of.

Assistance and compassion for those unable to look after themselves has underpinned almost every known culture, both religious and non-religious I can probably say, since time began. OK there are many occasions when society has not lived up to its principles, but few societies or people who did not believe that it was a fair and just thing to do.

I have a niece with a severe mental disability. If her parents bankrupted themselves they could not afford to buy the care she needs. If she lived with them they could not run their business and be self sustaining tax payers. I assume that you and your friends would just push her and her parents out on the street and leave them to sink or swim.

Justify that.

absent Thu 27-Jun-13 20:31:38

Greatnan Double glazing has been widely available in places such as Auckland for a long time but is, at last, beginning to be much more common elsewhere. (New Zealand joins the twenty-first century.) As I mentioned, all new builds must be double glazed and, I think, properly insulated. The quality of the double glazing in my daughter's house isn't anything like so high as that I had installed in my house in London, but I paid a great deal of money for top-of-the range inert gas filled windows so that may be the reason rather than anything else.

absent Thu 27-Jun-13 20:33:59

Charleygirl The Christmas bonus is just automatically added in at some point in December, paid through the same mechanism as the regular state pension payments. That isn't expensive and government could even afford to increase it [wash your mouth out with soap and water emoticon].

JessM Fri 28-Jun-13 15:42:27

My impression was absent that building regulations were focussed on earthquakes and not on insulation. Certainly in Wellington in 2009, when i had the time to hang around looking at building sites grin they were building houses with walls about 8 cm thick made of, well thin bits of wood really. If they fell on you they might not squash you. But they were not thick enough to contain any insulation worth having. And not much new building really.
The other issue is that the detached property, often single storey, is the norm, and of course the least energy efficient option. Kiwis and Aussies despise terraced housing with a degree of venom.
We are renting a newish mid floor flat when we go to N wales and it should be nice and cheap to heat, with minimal amount of surface area grin