Pensioner’s anger over income cuts

Tom Gradwell says his state pension is to be slashed by almost �1,000 over the next 12 months.
Tom Gradwell says his state pension is to be slashed by almost �1,000 over the next 12 months.

A FURIOUS Cleveleys pensioner is to contact his MP to protest after being told that his state pension is to be slashed by almost £1,000 over the next 12 months.

Tom Gradwell, 73, of Anchorsholme Lane East, says he was informed a number of other pensioners have also been hit by the reduction.

Ex-civil servant Mr Gradwell says the cutback in his allowance, from £150 to £130 a week, has come about because of an administrational oversight that wasn’t his fault.

It meant that he was being paid too much on his state pension over the last eight years – and now the Department of Pensions is trying to claw the money back.

Mr Gradwell says: “I think it is outrageous that they have made a mistake and are now trying to cut back on my pension.

“They first contacted me to say they were going to reduce my benefits and I told them I wasn’t on any benefits, just state pension, in addition to my works pension. They assured me they were not legally able to touch my state pension and that was that.

“But then I was later told that there had been over payments of my pension for the last eight years, and they were having to claim it back at the rate of £20 a week, almost £1,000 over 12 months.

“I am on modest income and although I have my works pensions, £20 a week is still a lot of money to lose.

“When I phoned up about it I was told that a similar thing was happening to certain other pensioners.

“It seems to me that this is just a way to get money off some of the most vulnerable members of our society.

“Old people are probably seen as fair game.

“Many are intimidated and will not complain, yet many elderly people struggle to make ends meet and are in no position to lose any more.

“But I am certainly not scared of making a fuss, I think it’s an absolute disgrace.”

Mr Gradwell is to contact Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard, and has already written to minister Iain Duncan-Smith, the Secretary of State fort Work and Pensions, about the matter.

A DWP spokesperson said: “We have apologised to Mr Gradwell for his State Pension being incorrectly calculated and the inconvenience caused. Unfortunately after a number of checks on State Pension payments we identified that some people have been incorrectly paid. While we will not ask for any overpayments to be repaid, we are required to reduce the weekly amount of State Pension payable to the correct amount to avoid further overpayments being made.”