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Tories accused of trying to bribe pensioners with pre-election handouts

David Cameron has been accused of trying to “bribe” pensioners while saddling younger people with government debt, after he promised to maintain state benefits for all old people.

Mr Cameron said his 2010 promise to preserve winter fuel allowances, free TV licences and bus passes regardless of pensioners’ income would last as long as he remains prime minister. Labour and the Liberal Democrats have promised to restrict the winter fuel payments for better off pensioners.

But critics accused the Conservatives of playing a cynical “generation game” to woo the “grey vote” because the over-65s are the most likely group to vote in May’s general election. Pensioners’ perks cost about £3bn a year and the Tories have pledged to find a further £12bn cuts in welfare if they remain in power.

Mark Littlewood, director general of the Institute for Economic Affairs, said: “Politicians must stop trying to woo elderly voters at the expense of other generations. The elderly cannot remain immune to public spending restraint and abolishing these benefits would help ease the burden on the working age population.”

Visit the Independent for the full story.


#29 David 2015-03-06 23:12
SM ,
Re :-
Russians & pencils.
I thought you'd like this .

Both the Russians & the USA used pencils in the early days but the US stopped because of microscopic graphite particles in the air that came off the paper when it's moved affected the electrical circuits . The graphite is also a electrically conductive grease , it is likely to self-combust in an oxygen rich atmosphere such as you find in a space craft .

In the USA & the UK , everything that goes into a space craft these days has to be risk assessed for all manner of possible problems.
I gather that the Russians also now use the Fischer space pens as well for the same reasons . I have two of the bullet versions of the space pen , have had them for nearly 9 years .. plus several new refills .. They work well and never drip or smudge or seem to fade.

One of my acquaintances is in the Europeans space agency, is a team leader in thinking through what problems could be encountered when untried sequences , materials and theories are used in space exploration. The team is thinking some 15 years ahead of the current technology & systems we now have.
"Science fiction in reality " , is how our Munchkin called it .
#28 David 2015-03-06 22:51
SM you seem to want to fly the banner for all .
As though those that have a low income are poor .

The old adage of
Give a man a fish to feed him for a day or teach a man to fish and he'll feed his family , is only part of the picture .
Teach yourself instead & it will have even more value that other people would like to have access to .

Most of my many disabled or ill friends do earn some money working from home or a mobile home some even live on a boat and have until very recently managed a joint income of over £30K.

One old Pope ( I think) stated " THE POOR WILL ALWAYS BE WITH US "
Recently I heard that a lot of folk are poor because of their poverty thinking & habits. ( aka Stinking thinking ).

The re balancing of state benefit payments should go some way to redressing the last sentence .
#27 SM 2015-03-04 14:37
Signed your petition, Chris. The reason, when asked by 38degrees : Many people are too poorly paid to create savings/pension , or they have such poor health they cannot work to create savings/pension for old age. Wealthy businesses are ALLOWED and probably even helped to escape & evade their enormous owed tax revenue which, if gathered in, could help the state pension 'pot'. But the poor are not helped to escape their poverty - in the broadest sense of being able to function without the extreme STRESS of poverty - at any age, let alone in the most vulnerable time of old age. Chris, I can't imagine that allocating winter fuel payments etc according to tax bracket, wouldn't save money, & it would happen automatically via computer database, as do many other payments or revenues collected. ???
Hi David. Fraid the long list of things many believe were invented for space, were in fact mostly invented by private or commercial inventors for use on Earth; they were sought out by NASA as useful for work in space. My point was about priorities & allocation of resources. Priorities (what/who receives what): space exploration isn't unimportant - but might poverty-misery be aliveated first, and space explored second? Resources analogy (how/what we spend) : it's claimed (but might be a myth) that NASA spent immense money designing the Ball Point Pen to meet the need for writing at any angle in space. The Russians took pencils.
Yet what would the money saved by taking pencils be spent on...?
The rich western world - in purely philosophical terms - spends most of its EXCESS money ENTERTAINING (in the broadest sense) those with the most money. If you only have 1 can of beans to eat in 7 days & a cardboard box to live in, when you pass the TV shop window - space exploration is just entertainment for those with in-humane priorities.
#26 Chris 2015-03-04 13:11
Pension reform has denied the 1 million 60-64 denied state pension any Winter Fuel Allowance long into the future, past 2020.

No money is saved by withdrawing pensioner benefits nor the state penson, which is coming to NIL STATE PENSION FOR LIFE from next year to the poorest men and women forever, that is their sole food and fuel money.
See why under my petititon, in my WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT section, at:

You might care to share this petition on your social media like Facebook and Twitter, because it will continue long past the general election becaue Labour is ignoring the ending of the state pension to the poorest men and women coming with the flat rate pension from 2016 onwards, which is anything but single tier.

#25 David 2015-03-02 01:35
You mention falling through the net
Ii wish I'd a tenner for each time someone has said that to me this last 40 years , be they tax folk , benefits folk , hospital folk or Social services staff, I'd be worth a few bob I can tell you.

These nets worry me as I'm nearly a six footer and weight 17 stone but I still keep falling through these sodding rotten nets .
#24 David 2015-03-02 01:29
You mention the space industry &seem imply it is not of value to the world .

Well without it I doubt you'd be using your computer , nor your cell phone, your TV, non stick frying pans, your wrist watch , GPS , sat nav, digital cameras and a zillion other things you now take for granted.
#23 SM 2015-03-01 11:27
Hi David & Zybbok etc
Appreciate your reflections. Your facts can't be denied.
There'll always be those who unfairly fall wrong side of a line. But a system designed by fair minded people and not those only thinking financialy, should mean the fewer that accidentally fall through are easier to identify and address.
Benefits systems, espeically for the elderly, working on tax data, one imagines, wouldn't be hard to devise. Excise know exactly what pensions, etc, most have (Excise already write instantly your brithday or other deadline occurs).
As for all politicians/gov ernments being the same - it's not really true. Taking the 'feel' during the '80s Tory government : claimants & media reported gradual rise in nasty tactics & nasty people hired deliberately by benefits agencies. During the long Labour years those reports gradually faded, & personal experience was of few much less nastiness. Instantly Tories return nastiness regains & so overtly - everyone knows.
GPs write open letters of complaint to newspapers when their pay etc is threatened. But they are silent when their patients are killing themselves all over the country.
How does one know if the suicide-prone finally did it because of benefits cuts, or simply their fear of losing their home or their food. No one knows and fewer care.
David is very right about UK being better provided than the poor elsewhere. But that's very relative - the poor overseas wouldn't be alive at all if their 6 dollars a day (or less) didn't buy them something to eat. SOME UK claimants could survive on less, but UK food/living costs are much greater per sey. But is mere survival what any government ought to be aiming at for their population?
It costs humanity Billions to go to war & into space etc, & most like to hear about the results. But instead we might help the vulnerable instead with that money, & even generous assistance would cost far less than war or space.
#22 David 2015-02-28 01:39
I like what you have put zyybok ,

Do you honestly think it will change after May the seventh either under the same or a different government other than to get worse ???

Re:- The benefits budget, Working within the portion of money involved ,which is apparently much higher than most developed nations per head .

It's not just the disabled, sick & unemployed that it affects for as you can see when you read back a few threads it is all groups that get any sort of benefit .

There are millions & millions of data records to be sifted & tied together. It's not just to try and take out the cheats but to also to reduce the costs of dispensing the benefits . There does seem to be a bit of head way being made in these areas.

The error rates will over time drop considerably for doing something as big as the reforms takes time and it will always chuck up plenty of things that were never initially taken into consideration . There will never ever be a perfect set of records or a perfect system, also some people will for many reasons fill out ( or have them filled out 0the claims and be refused the money . I grant that at present the appeal against any refusal of benefits decision is harsh though not as harsh as it could be .
+1 #21 zybbok 2015-02-27 06:45
Why has this current Tory government made such a massive part of its debt restructuring fall upon the welfare bill? It could have upped taxes, reduce the Foreign Aid budget, now 12bn and growing so fast that the government is struggling to spend it. Or better still get the tax owed from the dodgers e.g. Starbucks, Amazon and Google to name but a few. HM Revenue & Customs has identified £25bn of unpaid taxes that may have been wrongly withheld by corporations, of which almost 44pc are overseas companies. But all of that would have upset its core vote of the rich and well heeled classes who support it. This almost total assault on welfare and local authority services for the old and disabled people to meet their financial target (though they have missed it every month since they announced it) is driven by pure political targeted discrimination against specific groups of voters they consider unlikely to vote for the Tories at the May election.
#20 David 2015-02-26 11:13
Good post SM an excellent post. redistributing it to those that actually need it & not those that feel they are owed it could be the solution.

However you will have to have someone to set the level of need to be reached for the assistance to be given and even then there will be the mistakes , borderline cases &there will still be lots lots of bitching and moaning that it is wrong & not fair folk giving it rooty tooty just like we have nowadays .

I realise how lucky we are in the UK for having any sort of welfare system at all , no matter how imperfect it may seem at times , many in China , South Americas, Russia , and the African states would give their all to have even a fraction of the lifestyle that we overfed pampered Brits have.
+3 #19 SM 2015-02-26 05:35
First, I've nothing against anyone mentioned here.
I know 11 pensioners, from different social backgrounds, 1 is truly well-off. But none need financial help.
They often laugh at spending their winter fuel allowances, using their bus passes (all have 1 or 2 cars), on expensive books or gown-ups toys.
But they castigate all "on benefits". They indulge in casual sexism & casual/fierce racism, etc. Everyone is doing something wrong, except them.
A 2014 TV program "Pensioners on Benefits" showed that most pensioners can get about 11 benefits, often automatically & without means testing. 8 OAPs in approx the middle-income bracket were questioned & NONE of them knew they got these benefits direct to their bank accounts, save one who noticed by accident.
Some might say none of the 8 were 'properly' wealthy (although most were playing a round of golf), but compare their attitude towards their state benefits - with how younger people view their benefits with much anxiety & insecurity.
Younger people on unemployment and disability benefits are widely viewed as scum, including by my 11 OAP colleagues. Because - as everyone surely knows - they're the greatest burden on the state. BUT, 2014 independent statistics show the LARGEST benefits bill topped up WORKING peoples' earnings to minimum wage. Next largest bill was tax credits for families (again, IN WORK). Third was (i think) pensioners. LEAST & last were disabled and the actual unemployed.
But everywhere these proportions are presented the other way round, with the unemployed and disabled supposedly the worst burden.
So, that means: the people spitting such venom on the unemployed and younger disabled are via their OWN benefits ACTUALLY causing the greatest burden on the state.
Hypocrisy on a monumental scale!!!!
And does the media report these widely available independent financial figures...?
+1 #18 tintack 2015-02-26 00:48
Quoting David:
The problem is that like those guys said. " There is no money in the pot" .

When money needs to be found for something the government wants to spend it on, they find it - (e.g. Trident). And of course the "no money in the pot" argument doesn't seem to crop up when Osborne writes off billions of pounds due from the likes of Vodafone.

I understand it to be that " Yes leave pensioners alone , now lets distribute the benefits to those that really cannot help themselves not those who with a bit of a push can leave their self pity party and actually start working again towards supporting themselves ".
The problem is that the public has been duped into thinking that there is a vast army of people at their "self pity party" who just need a kick up the backside. And yet, even the DWP's own audits of the system have shown countless times that this simply isn't true. Fraud among sick and disabled claimants is always found to be minuscule (comfortably under 1%). There was even an extract from an internal DWP document published (on here I think) a while back in which the DWP expresses surprise that the people they're subjecting to the WCA really are, well, you know, ill. Who'd have thought it?

And the definition of "those who really cannot help themselves" has been changed so much that the goalposts haven't just moved, they've flown south for winter. Remember, the WCA is a replica of a test which was deemed by a court of law in the US to be corrupt and fraudulent. We can't assume that someone who fails such a test doesn't really need help.

Perhaps that's the way forward .. to have professionals help fill the paperwork correctly instead of leaving it to the folk who cannot do it for themselves.

Not likely, given the cuts to the likes of CAB, and that's before the intentionally misleading nature of the forms is allowed for!
#17 Paul Richards 2015-02-25 22:54
Hi all,
The Pensioners - for the most part have done very well under this present Conservative Government -(looking after them at all costs!)
This Tory Government know all to well that most Tory voters will (of course) be (present) Pensioners, as THEY will look after them.
The youngsters, in the future will not thank the Pensioners in any way whatsoever (as years ago, and I took on board this comment - "we pay, you play") This, of course refers to these youngsters having to pay the 'extra' taxes to support the future 'Pensioners'.
I heard recently that all 'Government' pension funds have already been spent - so there is absolutely no money left in any of the Government coffers for these, or any other future Pensioners!
So really - all that is left is for future 'taxpayers' to pay for any pensions (apart from private pensions which are still in the 'private' system)! (????????????????????????????????????????????????????)
for any future Pensioners. God help our present youngsters - supporting themselves, their own families and future Pensioners!!
#16 David 2015-02-25 20:07
I have always thought that winter fuel, tv licences, bus passes etc should be means tested regarding older people receiving these benefits. Why not? My older neighbours look down their noses at me because they 'think' (I have never said either way) that I am in receipt of benefits and yet when I remind them these 3 things are a benefit to them I am looked at in horror. Well they are benefits so yes lets means test them.
Adding to my other post I find that outside of the big cities where bus travel & facilities are reasonably good, most folk rely on the car or shared taxis to get about . Those disabled enough usually have acces to the motability scheme or travel assistance funding.

The envy of TV licensing & the horrific wanton waste of the money may soon be resolved, if by good fortune the funding is stopped and the BBC go fully commercial . Then we can see how good their programming really is .

Fuel payments at what level of income would you stop them ? I'm guessing that by the time you sift the numbers and shovel the paper work it would be cheaper to leave them alone or say that anyone above a certain tax bracket is not eligible to them instead
Perhaps just stop them all together and let folk get cold. Then the more that die because of lack of heat the less the drain on the money available , for doing a means test for grant will also be horrifically expensive and that will be added to the total amount paid for the grant. Civil servants do not come cheap at all , ever! Look at France & Greece for prime examples .
#15 David 2015-02-25 19:52
I have always thought that winter fuel, tv licences, bus passes etc should be means tested regarding older people receiving these benefits. Why not? My older neighbours look down their noses at me because they 'think' (I have never said either way) that I am in receipt of benefits and yet when I remind them these 3 things are a benefit to them I am looked at in horror. Well they are benefits so yes lets means test them.
It would cost far too much for you have to find pensions & office space etc etc .for the staff to do it plus it would be civil service so a lot of money , for not much work and no desire to alter things or poke their heads above the parapet for a better view . ( Unless the civil service has changed from my time with them ".
#14 David 2015-02-25 19:47
Tin tack ,
I'm not a political animal, far from it . I'd supply the rope for the lynching of them all but like it or lump it there will always be replacements .
The problem is that like those guys said. " There is no money in the pot" . I strongly suspect there never will be much either , no matter what taxes are levied or collected ..fat cats & businesses etc. included

I understand it to be that " Yes leave pensioners alone , now lets distribute the benefits to those that really cannot help themselves not those who with a bit of a push can leave their self pity party and actually start working again towards supporting themselves ".

It could well end up that the spend on benefits after the overhaul is far greater than present so long as we fill out the forms correctly and this to my mind is where the crux of the problem is . For most folk who are down on their fortune / or in ill health or both do need expert help in filling them out .
I certainly did , though I was fortunate to find a new mother taking time out for her children who had a lot of experience in such things . She expanded every question asked onto extra sheets , to give the full picture of how my multiple disabilities stop me from working and what my needs are.

Perhaps that's the way forward .. to have professionals help fill the paperwork correctly instead of leaving it to the folk who cannot do it for themselves.
Even with help from this site it's hard to do.
#13 David 2015-02-25 19:24
Quoting capainFAIRY:
My older neighbours look down their noses at me because they 'think' (I have never said either way) that I am in receipt of benefits and yet when I remind them these 3 things are a benefit to them I am looked at in horror. Well they are benefits so yes lets means test them.

The fact they look down on you just for being on benefits shows how successful the propaganda is. Words like "benefits" and "welfare" are now dirty words to many people. They've been encouraged to view themselves as virtuous, and claimants as skivers, scroungers etc..

We shouldn't underestimate just how much some people love to feel superior to others (no matter how unjustified that sense of superiority is), so it's no wonder they react with such horror when you point out to them that they're also claimants. If they follow their own logic, it means they have to look down their noses at themselves!
I have such neighbors, both promoted scribble serpents at the DLA Swansea .What they didn't know is that I got crippled on active service whilst in HMF 35 yrs ago .
This led to me telling to stop being antisocial as well telling them a bit about how I got my injuries
Now that they know it , the silence is most pleasurable, though it might change to a few more howls when my new motability Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV arrives in a few weeks time to replace my 5yr old extended hire KIA Sedona .
+1 #12 Stephen David Winder 2015-02-25 18:18
well I am a newly enrolled pensioner, & no matter WHAT Cameron or his cohorts offer us he will NEVER get my vote unless it's to throw him out! I am absolutely dismayed at the treatment has dished out to those less able to afford it, whilst leaving his Etonian elitist alone. Fair play is what people want, not headline grabbing gimmicks which he seems to have in spades.
#11 David 2015-02-25 17:23
Quoting satmanbasil:
What I think people are forgetting , pensioners have paid while working for the young people in education and the older people before they have reached pension age. To say its a bribe and will saddle younger people with government debt is just rubbish it has always been and always will be the way it works until governments come up with a plan to fund benefits in another way.
I also think the amount of "rich" pensioners is a lot lower than people think if you take into account the percentage of the workforce worked on the mim wage or below, and many "rich" pensioners do not take the bus passes or winter fuel etc.
There is no need to means test it will just add more admin cost.

A simple way to resolve this would be to draw aline in the sand and make people born after a certain date lets say 2000 so those born will be 15 this year and about to consider a career , that they when starting work have a workplace pension or private pension plan in place thus reducing over there working career the cost to any government the cost of paying pension and benefits alike to those who are about to enter pension age.

I agree, the lower the tax receipts in an economic down turn means less money to play with , so effective efficient long term planning has to take place to reduce the big burden on all taxpayers.
I can see the point of making it difficult for such people as I was to stay at the pity party. Getting all people off benefits is never going to happen for there are a lot who will never ever be able to do any worthwhile work , it's these guys who need the greater financial assistance. An overhaul of systems has to take place. Filling out the forms is the biggest problem not the reform..
-1 #10 JayneL Linney 2015-02-25 12:28
Along with this was the conflict between Harper's comment on Radio4 about this and IDS plans for pre paid cards for benefits! https://jaynelinney.wordpress.com/2015/02/23/tories-will-only-tell-you-what-do-spend-if-youre-poor/

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