Monday, 18 June 2012





Come to the GLPA Pensioners and Trade Unionists Conference to find some answers.

On Saturday 3rd November 2012 from 10a.m. to 3.30p.m.

Entrance £3 including Buffet Lunch

Speakers: Dr. John Lister - Health Emergency
Prof. Steve Iliffe - Social Care for the Elderly
Karen Jennings - Asst. Gen. Sec. UNISON
Caroline Pigeon - GLA Assembly Member - Transport


Come along and listen to the experts and voice your opinion

Sunday, 17 June 2012


The other day the Writer answered her front door to find a chap purporting to represent the charity for Air ambulance. It appeared to be a perfectly genuine enquiry with the chap wearing identification tag and carrying a clipboard.

He wanted to obtain donations for this Charity's lottery which seemed perfectly O.K. However he presented the Writer with a form which required the donee to insert their Bank Account number and Sort Code.

On no account should these details be handed over, no matter how genuine the caller may seem. He was offered money and the alternative of the donee contacting her own bank to make arrangements for a transfer to the Charity's Bank but he refused the suggestion. Again, it seemed perfectly logical that he wished to gain support this way rather than receiving direct cash at the door, or his bank receiving authorisaton from the would-be donee.

No charity should expect any individual to present a stranger with details of their financial affairs so please do not give away your bank details or indeed any other information relating to your finances.

Neither should you hand over details on the telephone, not even to your own Bank for it is becoming a regular con trick for scamps and rogues to listen in. There are now all means and tricks of listening in and if you ever need to disclose your Bank details, they should only ever be given by you in person to your Bank and even your Bank would not request details of your pin number.

So remember: keep your account number, sort code number and pin number to youself alone and NEVER be tempted to write them down on any form presented at your doorstep or requested over the telephone.

There are some wicked people about. You never have to pass this information to anyone at any time unless it is by you in person at your own Bank.

Friday, 15 June 2012


It is getting a little tiresome to hear from so-called experts on fiscal studies, of their focus on the elderly and their current benefits. It is so unfair that by these public comments they draw the attention of the remainder of the public to those of us unable to work nor even contribute to the large deficit allegedly inherited by the current Government.
Among other spotlights being brought to bear on the pensioners' so-called benefits are the Freedom Pass enjoyed by London Pensioners, Free Bus Travel by other Pensioners across the country, Free Prescriptions, the Free Television Licence and the Winter Fuel Allowance.
It is quite iniquitous that cuts should be aimed at a class of people unable to hit back either financially or through strikes and marches.
The most callous suggestion is that the Winter Fuel Allowance should come into the category of benefits not really needful, an attitude which has been exacerbated by celebrities and other public figures noisily giving away their allowance in a 'noble' gesture to the country because they say they are not really in need of this allowance. This noisy gesture has put in jeopardy this payment which has been given open handedly with no strings or means testing. Instead of making a grandiose show of their altruism, would it not be better for these noble folk to hand their allowance to Age Concern or Age UK quietly without fuss.
Since the Government may consider that one way of economising would be for the Winter Fuel Payment to be means tested or only given to those applying, would it not be a good idea that from the 1st October to the 31st March all central heating in the House of Commons, the House of Lords (which does have an elderly section of the public by virtue of that House's Members' age), all Council Chambers and all Civil Servant Offices, be turned off.
This would surely make a good saving, set a fine example of public responsibility and provide the sitters with a better perception of what it is like to be really cold and unable to do anything about it usually because of enforced immobility either through health or age. Try being old and cold. There's nothing like experience for greater understanding.
Our fiscal experts should remember that this generation of pensioners have put more into the National Pot than any other section of society because having lived longer, their contributions were greater. One of the betrayals was that having been promised a pension which would be linked to wages or prices, whichever was the higher, a previous Conservative Government under Mrs. Thatcher, broke this promise of a link and the following Labour Government were even more treacherous by not reversing the actions of that previous Tory Government. Pensioners have been let down by both parties and talk of taking away or means testing a heating allowance, is no less a betrayal than the breaking of the Link. It is pernicious to suggest that in these hard times the Pensioners have not had inroads made to their quality of life as others have. That so-called quality is already under attack by rising food prices, heavier utility bills and telephone costs. It is now costly to ring Telephone Directories even before one makes a call.
Leave what little we get alone.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012


Pennies matter for many

What a description for an infamous proposal. Any pensioner whose income does not exceed £10,000 should never be taxed. Indeed this unconscionable method of collecting money from the elderly has been in force for too long. A pension is supposed to protect those no longer able to work from penury in their old age. IT IS NOT AND SHOULD NEVER BE A TARGET for tax. To tax the helpless elderly is cowardly, iniquitous and immoral.

Obviously, we are not talking of the Retired Chairman of British Gas and all the other Fred Goodwins who wouldn't miss a spot of tax but of people who spend their lives budgeting, scrimping and saving merely to get along by keeping warm and able to buy a moderate amount of food to keep them well, let alone over-indulgence.

Mr. David Davis said on "Question Time" that the pensioner was, under these proposals, only losing about £63 per year. Where has he been living all this time? The half-year water rate for one person was £81 so Mr. Davis' £63 leaves the householder £9 short. Added to this the rising fuel costs levied in utility bills, the rise in meat and bread prices, not to mention milk, leaves most of the elderly scratching their heads and quite often sick with worry.

Of course £63 to Mr. Davis and his friends equates to one meal at Simpsons or the Savoy, a taxi fare, a bottle of wine and a generous tip so of course, £63 to the likes of Mr. Davis is chicken feed.

We hear today (10th April 2012) that Mr. Osborne is "shocked" to learn that many people only pay about 10% tax. Perhaps he should find out a bit more and get his finger out and if he genuinely is not aware of certain sections of our society only paying 10% tax then he ought to and most certainly should not be Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Monday, 6 February 2012


It has been very heart-warming to read that people like Ann Widdecombe and David Jason together with others relatively well off, are contemplating, or already are, giving their fuel allowance to those less well off. They say that they do not need it and to help the country to save, feel it only right that they pass their unwanted benefit to others.

Now this is very noble and one does not wish to sound churlish or ungrateful when coming across these reports in the press.

However, it is very disturbing for the pensioner movement as a whole that these good natured folk are by their decent instincts and generosity putting many of the less well off at risk of becoming subject to means testing, something which the Greater London Pensioners and those of the National Pensioners Convention have always fought against. So one wonders if a little more consideration should have been applied when performing public acts of apparent generosity.

If the Government becomes aware that Winter Fuel Allowance is not needed in some quarters, then they will probably come to the conclusion that this grant should be means tested since it is not required by all.

People a little better off should understand that the Winter Fuel Allowance, the Freedom Pass and Prescriptions are the only items granted to Pensioners not means tested. These are an entitlement given freely into their hands once they attain the age of 60. Part of the criteria of the State Pension campaigners is that grants from the Government should protect the recipients' dignity and means testing certainly does not.

These acts of kindness although well intentioned are backfiring in that they attract attention from a Government already looking to cut expenditure from any direction. Thus to give away a benefit of this nature publicly can in fact be a great disservice to a group of people already treated with contempt by a low pension. The State pensioner by his very dependence on this entitlement (notice we use the word entitlement and NOT benefit), is an illustration of need. Many are already suffering from the cold regardless of the Fuel allowance and do not need the indignity of means testing which will result if people better off decide to openly practice their philanthropy. The bible put it nicely with the phrase: "hide your light under a bush". If you are going to donate your allowance, then for the sake of all those depending on this rare gift from the Government, please do it quietly without drawing attention to the fact. That really would be a noble thing to do.