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Will you be returning your universal benefits .....

(52 Posts)
Riverwalk Mon 29-Apr-13 09:58:57

..... as IDS has suggested?

I'm not an OAP so don't receive anything as yet - beginning to think I'm never going to get any!

BAnanas Mon 29-Apr-13 10:14:11

IDS was on the BBC this morning, what he actually said was that a group of wealthier pensioners had mooted this idea, as far as he was concerned he didn't advocate one way or the other, and felt it was entirely up to the individual whether or not they wanted to forego fuel allowance etc.

Charleygirl Mon 29-Apr-13 10:40:36

I would like somebody to define the word "wealthy".

sunseeker Mon 29-Apr-13 10:45:22

There is no mechanism in place for returning benefits one method could be that they are not paid to anyone whose income is above the national average (which I think is around £25,000)

BAnanas Mon 29-Apr-13 10:53:10

Charleygirl I imagine it's up to the individual to define themselves as "wealthy", one man/woman's wealth would be another's poverty!

whenim64 Mon 29-Apr-13 10:58:23

If I was wealthy, I wouldn't claim benefits, and any sent automatically I would give to charity.

IDS and co need to sort this out, instead of putting the onus on pensioners. It should be easy enough to sort via the tax system.

Grannyeggs Mon 29-Apr-13 11:24:28

I agree whenim make them taxable.

Charleygirl Mon 29-Apr-13 11:26:53

I live in the outskirts of London and I would miss my free bus and tube pass. Many of the local buses, certainly around here would be running close to empty during the day. I could then foresee companies saying that not so many buses are required to run during the day and before long it would be back to my childhood days in Scotland with around 4 buses a day running.

Because I have had major surgery I have not been on a bus or tube for ages but it is expensive to travel anywhere in London, even off peak.

vegasmags Mon 29-Apr-13 11:38:46

How about wealthy pensioners passing on any unwanted benefits to pensioners like myself, who live below the official poverty line and in fuel poverty. Any wealthy pensioners out there who would like to 'adopt' me? grin

Anne58 Mon 29-Apr-13 12:08:00

Surprised Frank hasn't popped up!

grumppa Mon 29-Apr-13 12:15:52

It makes sense to treat winter fuel allowance and free TV licence as taxable income; bus passes and the London freedom pass are more complicated. Apart from determining the value for each pensioner (some of whom use them much more than others), which would be a costly exercise, there is the impact on bus services, already mentioned by Charleygirl, an increased use of cars, and the financial implications for places - shops, houses and museums, countryside - pensioners like to visit.

FlicketyB Mon 29-Apr-13 15:26:40

I think all these bells and whistles are patronising and demeaning suggesting that we old dears cannot be trusted to manage our budgets like other people but need little packages of ring fenced money to stop us spending our bus money on tea and biscuits.

I would like to see them all consolidated into the basic pension, which is combined with any other income you have in calculating tax. so the cost of these extra benefits would automatically be taxed for those whose pensions are large enough to pay tax.

Greatnan Mon 29-Apr-13 15:36:31

The only benefit I get is the winter fuel allowance and I would be quite happy for it to be taxed.

Eloethan Mon 29-Apr-13 15:51:58

As others have said, what exactly is "wealthy". People who are better off often do not see themselves that way and people who really are quite poor either don't consider themselves to be poor or are reluctant to describe themselves as such.

A milkman I knew told me that at Christmas it was his customers in modest homes that gave him the bigger tips, whereas those in expensive homes and cars, were often really stingy. That is a generalisation of course but it does illustrate the point that, were this idea to be adopted, it might be the wealthier people that hung on to their money while the less well off gave it back.

It does annoy me, though, that politicians make these proposals and yet they seem to be the beneficiaries of several "perks" in their jobs, not least heavily subsidised food, drink and housing. And why not suggest to CEOs getting millions of pounds in bonuses that they hand some back because they don't really need that much?

Greatnan Mon 29-Apr-13 16:05:20

And of course the perks of the rich now includes a top tax rate of 45%. That must make a big difference to their lives.
I would regard myself as 'wealthy' if I had an income of £50,000 a year, but I do regard myself as comfortable even though I have an income well below the national UK average because I also have very low outgoings. On the Micawber principle, that makes me feel fine. I can do most things I want,apart from flying in Business Class, which would be good on my 40 hour trips from France to New Zealand.

Deedaa Mon 29-Apr-13 21:49:08

I started to receive my pension when I was 60 although I was still working. I also got the winter fuel allowance. It did seem stupid because with the combination of job and pension I really didn't need the extra money. There was no way of opting out and it would probably make more sense do it through taxation. It is surely wrong for money to be handed out to everybody, whether they need it or not, while many pensioners are in such desperate straits.

So far I haven't bothered with a bus pass because I've been happy driving and at the moment I can still afford a car.

celebgran Mon 29-Apr-13 22:30:18

Moan moan no pension or age related perks for me it 2020! I will be 67 if still here!

celebgran Mon 29-Apr-13 22:30:48

Until 2020 meant!

nanapug Mon 29-Apr-13 22:48:50

My cousin's very elderly mother got confused when claiming some benefits and when my cousin found she had been paid too much tried to return it. There was no system set up to do this, and the benefits people couldn't believe she was being so honest. Also I didn't realise 'till recently, but all the ex pats etc who live in places like South Africa and Australia still get the winter fuel allowance. Think that should be stopped in the first instance. I too would like to know what they class as wealthy.

nanapug Mon 29-Apr-13 22:50:53

Also it's the same old story. Those of us who have worked hard and saved hard and planned for our old age, will have the benefit taken away, but people who haven't will get it. Makes me very angry......

york46 Mon 29-Apr-13 22:58:25

Another brainwave from a politician! How about they lead by example and donate such of their salary and allowances as they don't "need". I won't hold my breath!

Eloethan Mon 29-Apr-13 23:36:45

nanapug The fact that some people have been unable to save much for their old age isn't necessarily because they aren't hardworking. There have been, and continue to be, many people on low wages who can barely afford the necessities of life, and for whom saving is practically impossible. In fact, people at the lower end of the pay spectrum have fallen behind much more than anyone else over the last few decades.

Galen Mon 29-Apr-13 23:58:53

Can't use buses! Give fuel payment to charity and gift aid it which makes it worth more to the charity!

grannyactivist Tue 30-Apr-13 00:15:27

The problem I have is that the local bus fares, unlike in the big cities, are not subsidised and there is no competition and as a consequence the cost of travel is prohibitive. A return ticket to the nearest city (12 miles) costs £7.50 and a single is £6.40. When I travelled a similar distance in Manchester I was so visibly shocked at the cost of £2.20 that the bus driver thought it was too expensive and commiserated with me. shock When I explained that it was the cheapness of the ticket that had stunned me and told him the price I usually pay for a similar journey it was his turn to be stunned and he said bluntly that Mancunians would boycott the buses if they had to pay that much.
I would like to have a bus pass - but I fear that by the time I am eligible (age 64), they will have been done away with.

Greatnan Tue 30-Apr-13 06:36:52

Nanapug - may I take it you don't object to my receiving the winter fuel allowance as I live in an Alpine ski resort? I don't think it would be possible to decide who should get in on the grounds of the possible weather conditions all over the world, and I doubt if it costs a great deal anyway. Parts of Australia, such as in the mountains, can get very cold. There may be a certain amount of envy in some people's resentment of what other people receive.