All these MPs claim for a TV licence – but many people who need it can’t –

For many people, the BBC is more than just a broadcaster. It is a companion, a (good) teacher, an alarm clock, a sleep aid, an entertainer and a provocateur. It is not just a news source but the soundtrack to our lives. Like it or loathe it, one thing’s for sure – you feel a certain way about it, that’s as British as talking about the weather.

And so, the announcement that millions of pensioners will have to pay £154.50 for a TV licence from next year because the corporation plans to start means testing it has got tongues wagging.

BBC bosses have confirmed the move, with Director General Lord Hall saying the decision to cut the funding free TV licences for the over-75s – to the tune of £745 million a year – stemmed from Conservative austerity. Former Culture Minister Ed Vaizey seemed to agree, saying we shouldn’t forget it was the Treasury under George Osborne that decided the BBC would have to shoulder the cost to meet welfare targets.

Other politicians have also condemned the move. Theresa May is said to be “very disappointed” by the decision while Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has accused the Government of “breathtaking gall” in trying to “blame the BBC for this mess”.

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Why should MPs get free TV licences but not the over-75s?

However, whatever happens next, there is one group who will continue to be able to access free TV licences in the future: politicians. MPs work hard, often unsociable hours and they can claim a free TV licence for their constituency offices as an expense.

Figures published by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) and obtained by i show that so far, in the expenses year 2018-2019 up until January (reporting is not yet complete for February and March), 154 MPs have made such a claim.

This includes Conservatives such as the former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Esther McVey, who has overseen the rollout of Universal Credit, Michael Fabricant, Kevin Hollinrake, who founded the estate agency chain Hunters, Sir Roger Gale and Anna Soubry. Labour’s Hillary Benn, Karl Turner, Lisa Nandy, Kate Osamor and Yasmin Qureshi are also amongst those making the claim.

An incredible resource

The BBC says cutting free licenses for older people will save them somewhere in the region of £500m. I don’t question for a moment whether paying £154.50 a year for a TV licence is good value or that, now, more than ever, we need the quality rolling Brexit coverage of Laura Kuenssberg as well as the dark relief of truly innovative shows like Killing Eve.

And, no matter how connected the world becomes, BBC World Service will always be an incredible resource. We need more of this, not less and, for that, the BBC has to be able to compete with the likes of Netflix who are currently able to outspend it hand over fist. Something has to give.

Conservative leadership contender Jeremy Hunt has defended MPs ability to make these claims as a “legitimate expense”, but MPs earn around £80,000 a year which is far above the national average of £29,009. So is it fair that politicians can collect work perks when schools and care homeshave to pay?


Source: All these MPs claim for a TV licence – but many people who need it can’t –

Pensioners’ free TV licences should be abolished, says Lords committee | The Independent

Free TV licences for pensioners should be abolished, a Lords committee has recommended.

Other subsidies including free bus passes, winter fuel payments and the pensions triple lock should also be cut, the Committee on Intergenerational Fairness said.

Committee chairman Lord True said benefits must be rebalanced towards the young to prepare the country for 100-year lifespans.

“We are calling for some of the outdated benefits based purely on age to be removed,” he said. “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 report highlights how many pensioner households are now on average better off than many working age households, both in terms of income after housing costs as well as household wealth.


Source: Pensioners’ free TV licences should be abolished, says Lords committee | The Independent

Gordon Brown warns ending free TV licences could criminalise poor over-75s

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster or so it says, however, if the free TV Licence for the over – 75s is abolished then it ceases to be a British public service broadcaster. This is so because a large proportion of the British public will not be legally allowed to, not only, the BBC but any TV, as many over-75s will not be able to afford the TV licence and will therefore have no TV legally, only the radio.

This will be a retrograde step for which the BBC may never recover.

Yes, the Government have brought this onto the BBC, but it will be the BBC which will shoulder the blame.

2.4 million older people could lose their free TV licences

Scrapping free TV licences for the over 75s would be wrong.

The TV Licence was introduced on 1 June 1946 to fund broadcasting, which effectively was the BBC, the only UK broadcaster at that time.

In those days there was no other form of funding, but that is not so today.

Unlike another broadcaster today the BBC has a secure form of income by way of the TV licence.

Surely in todays climate all broadcasters should be funded on an equal basis.

So, should not the TV licence fee be shared between all UK broadcasters or with drawn completely.

Therefore, is not a free licence for the over 75s be a suitable compromise.

Should the BBC decide for the free licence fee be withdrawn, I would say that the outcome should be to completely withdraw the TV licence and thereby make funding equal for all broadcasters

600,000 pensioners could lose winter fuel allowance under LibDem plans : Welfare Weekly


Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has vowed to scrap winter fuel allowance for wealthier pensioners.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has vowed to protect the ‘triple lock’ on state pensions but says wealthier pensioners would lose their winter fuel allowance, under plans to be included in the Party’s 2017 general election manifesto.

Winter fuel allowance is a tax free payment of up to £300 a year paid to older people over the age of 65, regardless of wealth or income.

Under the plans announced today, it is estimated that around 600,000 pensioners with incomes above £45,000 a year would lose their winter fuel allowance, saving the treasury around £105 million.

Mr Farron said: “We are looking again at universal benefits paid to the wealthiest pensioners because money should not be paid to those who do not need it.

“We need to help those in need and on middle incomes and not…

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Pensioners visiting their GP should be asked regularly about falls, says new guidance : Express.

Is there an hidden agenda, for do not all requests for information have a cost cutting implication especially when these are directed from politically motivated bodies who are solely looking to reduce costs and not your well-being.

Tories to cut Housing Benefit for half a million existing pensioners – SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)

The Tories are coming after the pensioner for cuts in housing benefit. Nothing you read below is speculative. It is already Tory policy and a question only of WHEN the Tories hit the pensioner with…

Source: Tories to cut Housing Benefit for half a million existing pensioners – SPeye Joe (Welfarewrites)

Pensioners who fall at home will be charged £26 to be helped | Disability UK Blog

Stephanie Linning for the MailOnline 17th Dec 2015: Pensioners who trip and fall at home will be charged £26 by their local council to come and pick them back up again The proposal by Tendring Dist…

Source: Pensioners who fall at home will be charged £26 to be helped | Disability UK Blog

Hard Evidence: has the coalition made pensioners better off?

Original post from The Conversation


Pull the other one. Carl Court/PA Wire

As a reader might infer from my photograph, I am a pensioner. I mention this with the purpose of full disclosure, because I shall discuss how the likes of me have fared compared to all of you out there who must work for a living.

We find in both media and research reports many reasons why those who live to pension-receiving age represent a serious burden to society in the UK and elsewhere. Prominent among these reasons are the proclivity of the elderly to use the NHS more (I plead guilty) and the indisputable fact that the retired seem content not to engage in paid work (guilty again).

To these transgressions has been added an additional charged – the alarming growth of “intergenerational wealth inequality”, according to the FT. The Conservatives have also been accused of wooing older voters with a range of benefits denied to the hard working, doing-the-right-thing households.

The poor suffer more

Faced with these allegations, a look at the numbers is warranted. The Office for National Statistics provides quite detailed information on the income of the taxpayer categories “non-retired” and “retired”. It is unfortunate that the latest statistics are two years old, referring to tax year 2012-2013. Nonetheless, this allows a comparison of the pre-coalition result to outcomes three years later.

One of the most important aspects of earnings and pensions is their unequal distribution. The chart below demonstrates the pattern of inequality, reporting the percentage change in “final income” for those retired (blue) and not retired (red), between 2009-2010 and 2012-2013, adjusted for inflation.

“Final income” comes as close as statistics can to measuring material welfare. It includes all income payments, plus cash benefits, minus income tax, minus indirect taxes, and finally, plus all benefits in kind.

Inflation adjusted percentage change in real final income by decile. The retired (blue) and not retired (red), tax years 2009-10 to 2012-13. John Weeks|Data: Office for National Statistics, CC BY
Click to enlarge

Once we wade through all the categories and numbers, we discover that the average non-retired earner suffered a decline in final income of 8%, while the pensioner almost broke even at -0.7%. For those not retired the losses were quite similar across the board. For example, the poorest 10% of earners suffered a 10% decline, the same as for the seventh worst off, with the fifth worst off suffering a 13% decline. The smallest decline occurred for the top earners – continuing the much noted tendency towards greater inequality over the last three decades.

For the retired the story is quite different. The poorest 40% of pensioners endured a real income contraction of more than 8%. Every other earning category enjoyed an increase with the exception of a tiny decline of 0.1% in the eighth.

A clear message comes from statistics for retired and not retired households – gains and losses have a distributional dimension. Declines were much the same for the employed. In contrast, the bottom 40% of pensioners suffered serious decline, while the top 60% did not.

Private v state pensions

A second chart reiterates the importance of the distribution of pension income. It shows the inflation adjusted change in wages and salaries for the non-retired, private pensions and the state pension over the same years. The wages and salaries of non-retired households declined for the poorest 40% at about the average for all earners.

The private pension story proves quite different. The average private pension rose by inflation adjusted 12%, while the outcome for the bottom 40% was a decline of 1.3%. The state pension increased by almost 4% for the poorest 40% – by far their main source of income – and even this was less than the overall increase (5.3%). Though all state pensioners receive the same cost of living increase, earlier retirement by the more unemployment-prone explains the smaller gain for the poorest 40%.

Inflation adjusted percentage change in wages and salaries, and pension income, average and for the bottom 40%, tax years 2009-10 to 2012-13. John Weeks | Data: Office for National Statistics, CC BY
Click to enlarge

The statistics convey a lesson in caution about generalisations. Yes, on average pension incomes rose more (or fell less) than non-pension incomes under the coalition government through the tax year 2012-2013. But differences over the income distribution are dramatic – those at the top gained and those at the bottom lost out.

David Cameron and chancellor George Osborne are not attempting to “woo older voters”. Among the retired they woo the same constituency they woo in the country as a whole – the rich.  ……..’

Another raid on Pensioners

PM supporting care fees cap

The PM is supporting this care fee strategy, the DPM wants to means test pensioners benefits and then we are told to save for our retirement, so restricting our spending while working.

If we do not save, we will not be caught by either the care fee strategy or the means testing, but will have had full use of our earned income.

The choice is yours.