/ Money

Pensioners have got it easy

Elderly couple relaxing on grass

Are the elderly getting special treatment at the expense of the young? A recent report says they shouldn’t be exempt from swingeing budget cuts. But should the most venerable and vulnerable members of society be hit?

Pensioners have got it made. They get state handouts, free bus passes, free TV licences and allowances for winter fuel. They’re even getting a planned increase in their basic state pension above inflation.

And what do they need that extra money for, anyway? They’ll only spend it on luxuries like food, bills, clothes and maybe the odd gift for their grandchildren.

You may think I’m being a little unfair to the over 65s but this isn’t actually my assessment. These are the findings of independent think tank the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA).

Pampered pensioners?

The report ‘Sharing the burden – How the older generation should suffer for its share of the cuts’ states that older people enjoy a privileged position at present and that they have been exempt from spending cuts.

The report claims that by including older people in the cuts, the government could save an additional £16bn a year.

Among other measures, the paper proposes that the cuts would include the abolition of free bus travel (£1.3bn saving), the scrapping of free TV licences (£0.7bn saving), raising the pension age to 66 by 2015 (£5bn saving) and the ditching of winter fuel allowance (£2.1bn saving).

Philip Booth, one of the authors of the report, said that:

‘The government has imposed many new burdens on the younger generation in how it has chosen to cut…They [the government] have let older people remain largely insulated from much of the cuts. It’s time this changed.’

He went on to say that the IEA review would lead to huge tax decreases that would benefit everyone, including the elderly.

Matter of survival

Now, while it’s true that the younger generation will be hit hard by the cuts, should we penalise those who have paid tax and National Insurance all their lives?

Gandhi said that: ‘A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members’.

Far be it from me to say that pensioners are our nation’s weakest members (my dad can still beat me in an arm wrestle and he’s 76!), but there are many who depend on their benefits to survive. If we abolish these and make them live on meagre savings and a smaller pension, we can effectively take the Great out of Great Britain.

JACK says:
11 July 2011

try working all your life earning a good wage then you drop down to £100 per week and because my wife works i cant claim anything extra, what is her working got to do with me she dosn’t keep me.
We still pay full fuel bills etc. free tv licence! get your facts right, aged 80 only get this.
How much a week are you on, try £100 a week. you would be moaning.
You make me laugh,putting pensioners down while you take the lions share of life and money,

Independent think-tank it may be, but somewhat divorced from real-life. Last time I bought something I paid the full-whack of VAT, my fuel bills go up with sad regularity. Yes, I get free passes – but where are the buses?

I have also done what Governments recommend – saved. I live solely on savings, but now find I’m getting far less than inflation, whereas the finance sector makes a great deal lending my money to others at inflated rates.

Maybe that’s what the ‘Big Society’ is – pensioners save, bankers make money, the Government taxes the interest and makes our loss even greater. Yes, we’re all involved, one way or another.

john webb says:
7 December 2012

I am aOap and I agree that we have not been asked to share in the pain. I am not a wealthy man by any means. I live with my partner who is 9 years younger than me and is not of state pension age. what we get is when added together an amazing amount I let the reader do the sums.
1 Private pension £92.86 pw
2 state pension £126.06 pw
3 pension guarentee credit £17.18 pw
4 pension savings credit £10.42 pw
5 council tax benefit £24.38 pw
6 mortage payment £22.66 pw
7Heating allowance £200 pa
8 electriciy allowance £130pa
9 Xmas Bonus £10.pa
10 Free perscriptions
11 free bus travel
12 reduced train fares
13 free travel to hospital
14 free dental care
Why are we so well treated? The truth is that as a group OAPs are more likely to go out and vote than other groups in society, and polititions know this.

Don’t worry you will not have so many benefits once universal credit comes in, then your views may well change.

I am a pensioner and I agree with Nick Cheek.We get lots of perks and while I love having a free travel pass in the area where I live,I do not think we should be able to travel free in all parts of the Country.I cannot understand why we get a £10 Christmas bonus .They should away with that and give the money to the people who really need it .My husband (who has a good head of hair) gets a discount when he has his hair cut.We get discounts on many Attractions.In the main,pensioners are only responsible for themselves-no children to see through University and in a lot of cases no mortgage repayments either.Because we do not go to work,we do not need the clothes we once did.We have more time so do not have to buy expensive convenience foods.
Pensioners should stop whinging and enjoy their retirement which they should be made to take when they are 65 years old in order to give younger people without jobs a chance to work.

This pensioner certainly is having ball with benefitd, allowances, etc. I live on my own savings – things things successive Governments has encouraged us to get to save reliance on the State.
The outcome is that I live on half of that I planned for; I subsidise the borrowers who may be buying their second or third home; and see my savings droping at an alarming rate.

Neither Government nor Bank of England have are for the lot of savers, and the banks re-build their balances sheets from our deposits. Chancellor (some hope) or Bank of England need to shout out loud that the Overnight / Bank Rate is not mandatory on banks, they can be fair and civilized by raising the savings ratend the borrowing rate by a couple percent. Money would still be cheap, but the like of me would be able to spend a little more

casta diva says:
9 December 2012

All the new comments have good points to make. How well off you are as a pensioner depends on many factors but if you had a good professional pension and own your home then with your state pension you are probably doing very well indeed. I’m single, am in possession of the above plus winter fuel allowance and free bus pass and some savings and I feel positively rich though my needs are few beyond good food and wine and the ability to go more or less where I like when I like.I hardly bother to look for best areas for savings because I don’t think long term but in that area at least we prudent ones who have saved in order to buy and to protect us as we age have suffered badly at the hands of government. But what we have we shall probably keep because we are the voters and there are more and more of us and we will take revenge on those who take us for granted. Poorer pensioners who are less financially stable because of different circumstances have all my sympathy and deserve all the help to which they are entitled.

SR says:
22 May 2013

Why “knock” pensioners who have worked hard, paid their dues and now have the time to actually “have a modest life”, what’s left of it, when people who have never saved or made any provision for their retirement get everything given to them for nothing anyway and even get help to fill in their benefit forms! This doesn’t apply to everyone by any means but, “if the cap fits?” Yes. I am a pensioner but I don’t think people should get everything for nothing whoever they are, at any stage in their lives!

Jo says:
23 May 2013

Yes I agree with SR, we have no way of working ‘overtime’ and we are poorer due to the high cost of food, fuel etc. A high percentage of us have worked hard all our lives and Tax credits etc were not around then.

Recently it has been reported that allegedly MP’s may get a pay rise of £10,000 to £20,000 a year how disgusting is that?????????? It certainly throws ‘we are all in it together’ out of the window.

Ryi-Jyn Shui says:
23 May 2013

Actually Jo, I read that in Metro (e-edition.metro.co.uk/2013/05/20 page 4). An MP, who did not want to be named and who also agrees with the pay rise for MPS, was quoted as saying “if you pay peanuts you get monkeys”. The fact that he calls MP pay low (see below) just demonstrates how out of touch that MP is. It wasn’t that long ago the cleaners at IDS’ office were asking for a living wage.

As for the peanuts jibe, what does that say about the rest of us, paid less than the current £66,000 most MPs earn?

I could not disagree more. I live almost entirely on savings thanks to the previous crazy laws concerning pensions and to an employer took me on and then found I couldn’t transfer my then modest pension pot.

The result is that I have to keep a reasonable amount immediately available to cover normal expenses, and so receive interest rates from banks of around 0.25% of inflation, much less than inflation. Banks don’t have to the Band of England rates, they do so because it benefits then enormously.

They pay next-to-nothing for my savings and so can lend out at what seem to be very generous rates, whilst bolstering their balance sheets at the same time. Just imagine having, say £50-billion for which you pay 0.25% pa and can lend it out to home buyers at a very good rates of 3%- 5%. There’s a chunk of profit in that for the banks, the home (possibly 2nd or third home) buyer is very happy – and I live on much less than I planned.

Effectively pensioner savers like me are subsidising the hard-one to younger lot, admit it or not.

A further comment. When our politicians said that “We’re all in this together” what they really meant was that WE POLITICIANS are all in this together, with the banks and big business.
All the best of friends, members of the same clubs and feathering one another’s nests.