want to axe free bus passes and TV licences for OAPs because they are ‘outdated and unfair on young people’. In West Lancashire there are 16,924 over 65s, and 7,371 qualify for free TV licences. And, believe it or not, many of us still pay taxes!
You may recall the case of the Tory peer who was criticised for claiming up to £5,700 a month for walking to “work” from her £4.5million home just 200 yards away from the House of Lords.
a former Tory minister, was accused of exploiting a new tax-free payment of up to £300 a day which those who live in London benefit from the most.
But the 74-year-old former Cadbury Schweppes director, who has taken home £74,400 in parliamentary attendance allowances, has not broken any rules. An analysis by the Daily Mail newspaper found that 124 of the 161 Lords who live in London claimed the daily allowance.
So you will wonder
why these people have said pensioners should be stripped of ‘outdated’ perks such as free TV licences and bus passes to make Britain fairer for younger people, peers said.
The ‘triple lock’ on pensions which has seen the state pension “soar” in recent years should also be scrapped, the House of Lords select committee found. I’d like to know where it “soared to” by comparison with council tax bills?
They called on the BBC to phase out free TV licences for the over-75s, with only the poorest households receiving them without payment. The Corporation is consulting on whether to get rid of them and the report could make it easier to do so. The peers said free bus passes and the winter fuel payments should only be available five years after a person reaches state pension age.
They called for better-off elderly people to continue paying National Insurance if they work beyond the state pension age. The report, compiled by the Lords select committee on intergenerational fairness and provision, said these perks were no longer justified when younger people struggle to even get on the housing ladder.
To help younger adults, it called for town halls to be given more power to develop unused land as well as higher funding for vocational training.
Lord True, the committee chairman
said ‘We found that intergenerational bonds are still strong. However, there is a risk that those connections could be undermined if the Government does not get a grip on key issues such as access to housing, secure employment and fairness in tax and benefits.
‘We are calling for some of the outdated benefits based purely on age to be removed. Policies such as the state pension triple lock and free TV licences for over 75s were justified when pensioner households were at the bottom of the income scale but that is no longer the case.’
The committee said ministers needed to build a fairer society to prepare the country for the coming 100-year lifespan. The report said that while age-based benefits and allowances were justified in the past to tackle pensioner poverty, many pensioner households are now on average better off than many working age households both in terms of income after housing costs and household wealth. Many? How many?
The peers also called on the Treasury to publish a breakdown of the effects of each Budget by generation and said ministers should create ‘Intergenerational Impact Assessments’ for all draft legislation. Lord True said ‘Young people told us they feel short-changed by the housing market, so we are recommending policies to deliver a significant increase in the supply of social and private housing and recommended protections to give renters long-term security.
‘We also need to change how we view education and training. Longer working lives mean older workers need support to reskill and continue to contribute in the workplace and younger people, particularly those who do not go to university, need the Government to fund further education and vocational training.’
But charities for the aged did not accept all the committee’s recommendations.
Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said ‘Young people may need more help but we disagree that this should be at the expense of the older generation. Means-testing, for example, results in significant numbers of very poor older people missing out. ‘We reject the notion that helping younger and older people is an ‘either/or’; in practice, many at both ends of the age spectrum need our society’s support and an advanced economy like the UK is well placed to provide it.’
And now, abolish the unelected House of Lords, hold elections to it, and maybe we might end the tax free ripoff?