This week's mailbag includes letters on pensioners' benefits under fire, Brexit and the upcoming European elections
Blaming OAPs is not a solution
The Lords’ report was just the latest in a long line that have attacked pensioners’ universal benefits.
A report from the House of Lords proposes scrapping the triple lock on state pensions, removing the bus pass and winter fuel allowance, means-testing the TV licence and making universal benefits subject to tax.
In their attack, the peers referred to these concessions as “outdated perks”.
Whilst their report, rightly recognises younger people need more support in finding housing, better employment rights and improvements in the availability of education – it wrongly assumes punishing the older generation is a solution.
Jan Shortt, general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention, said: “It’s ironic a bunch of peers that are paid £305 a day just for turning up along with travelling expenses and then enjoy a subsidised meal at the public’s expense should argue that older people should start to lose some of their entitlements.”
“Pensioner poverty is increasing, loneliness and isolation is growing and the scale of winter deaths among older people last year reached a 40-year high.”
The NPC has also pointed out that many of the additional universal benefits that pensioners receive were originally introduced so that government could avoid raising the level of the state pension. Given that the UK state pension is bottom of the OECD league table, the need for these benefits remains.
The NPC has argued that society is being divided in terms of the generation into which you were born. Such a simplistic approach incorrectly assumes all those born into the same generation have the same life experience and outcomes, yet we know that, like all age groups, health, property wealth and income are not evenly or equally distributed.
“Solutions to young people’s problems will not be found by reducing entitlements for pensioners,” said Ms Shortt.
“Instead, improving the younger generation’s chances requires profound changes in how we structure our economy and distribute wealth.”
There are only two ways to go
The so-called cross-party talks on Brexit are cross, certainly, but will inevitably end in failure.
Over seven weeks wasted in talks that were never ever going to succeed. They are a very transparent PR exercise.
Corbyn has no credible Brexit policy and Labour are as disunited as the Conservative Party.
To add to the farce, some Labour MPs are demanding a second referendum. If held, the Remainders would win, resulting in anger and a demand for a third referendum. More months go by plus more millions of tax payer’s money.
There are only two credible solutions: leave with no deal or scrap leaving entirely. The former will result in severe economic and security problems . The latter will confirm the sheer stupidity of the whole exercise.
Meanwhile, there is a call for the PM to go. How replacing her would change anything defeats me. The problems remain the same, the divisions in Parliament will still be there along with the same negotiators in Brussels.
Dr Barry Clayton
Why were some leaflets missing?
The postman delivered party leaflets for the coming European Elections.
No Brexit party or Conservative leaflets were put through our letter boxes. Only Labour, the Green Party, and vote Tommy Robinson.
Not a stitch-up is it?