What Matters? 2

Mimi ON Aug 19, 2010 AT 11:39 pm

Elderley Benefits

Elderley Benefits

Benefits slash for elderly
David Cameron is in the firing line this week over a clampdown on benefits. Pre-election, there was promises to protect benefits for the elderly. The Conservatives claimed the winter fuel allowance, free bus passes and free TV licences would stay. You may also remember an angry Cameron urging voters not to believe Labour’s lies that they would be cut. Well, fast forward three months and while Dave is on holiday, deputy Nick Clegg has said ‘painful’ cuts will be necessary to the welfare budget. As we all know politicians are incapable of telling it straight so nothing official has been said about what and when the cuts will happen.

Now, as expected Labour have jumped all over this calling the Prime Minister’s dishonesty ‘unacceptable.’ I’m less bothered about party political squabbles but do care about how the elderly will cope and survive if they can’t heat their home or afford to travel to the shops to buy their food.

For people on a pitiful state pension they need that fuel allowance not as a luxury but as a matter of life and death. It’s believed last winter over 36,000 pensioners died of cold-related illnesses. That is an unacceptable 13 pensioners every single HOUR. The thought of any of my elderly relatives dying in such an avoidable way fills me with horror and sadness.

However, I do think there needs to be some sort of means testing here as there should be with any other benefits. Pensioners who are very wealthy and do not need the fuel allowance or free bus passes shouldn’t claim it. But, I’m sure there are many that do.
The other bubbling eruption from this is the issue of trust and whether we can believe a word of what politicians say to us. If Cameron is back tracking now just three months after becoming PM, what other promises are going to be dropped or amended as time goes by?

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