Among all the brouhaha about the on-going leadership contest. I cannot recall any of the candidates talking about the plight of 11 million or so old age pensioners in this sceptred isle.
The cost of living crisis is proving to be a real concern for everyone, however rises in fuel costs to three times what they are now will leave pensioners with very little choices as to what to do. Those pensioners who are unfortunately ‘off’ the gas grid will scarcely afford to boil a kettle!
We can’t realistically go back to work, even if physically able, so how are we going to survive, God forbid, a winter such as 1962/3?
The basic state pension is £185.15 a week. Fuel costs will take about one third of that before anything else. That means that if the fuel price forecasts are right, OAPs will have £122.46 a week for everything else. Compare that figure with Government’s official one of £565 for ‘average’ weekly earnings.
Currently the UK spends about 4.6 per cent of GDP on our OAPs. This, for the fifth richest nation in the world is simply disgraceful, especially as the triple lock rise of 8.1 per cent last year was reneged on.
I would suggest an immediate rise in the state pension to the income tax threshold of £12,500, and that linked to the RPI and any future rise in the tax threshold.
It is affordable, (compared to the squillions spent on vanity projects the Queen Elizabeth line at £20bn and HS2 at £110bn etc) and that increase of about 30 per cent in the pension would be about that which pensioners will need to pay the new fuel costs and be able to have some peace of mind.