Realities of low-cost life as a pensioner

Have your say

From: Paul Griffiths, Scarborough.

I READ with significant interest the letter from Tim Mickleburgh regarding the cost of pensioners to the nation (Yorkshire Post, July 4). It took quite some time for my blood pressure to return to normal.

This was helped somewhat by the one blood pressure pill that I take daily, courtesy of the NHS. I also had the temerity to require hospital treatment last year which, had I had the option, I would have liked to have done without, and for which I now feel I should apologise.

I reached retirement age just over a year ago and now receive a pension which I am sure Mr Mickleburgh would much rather I didn’t accept.

I am really sorry for all this expense, perhaps I should put myself forward for a visit to the crematorium before I need more support from the state.

I have worked solidly for 50 years, contributing a considerable sum to the national coffers. I have rarely had any time off, or been out of work, unless you consider a significant period of self-employment to be shirking. I have at times employed staff directly and on contract, contributing PAYE, NI and VAT in significant amounts.

Mr Mickleburgh should note that we didn’t have credit cards, debit cards, or “quick loan” companies in the good old days. As has been mentioned many times, you could not get a mortgage without having a third degree. If you wanted something, you saved for it or did without. When you got married, you welcomed second-hand carpets, furniture and anything else that you could get your hands on. You did without a TV unless you got one from an auction or for free. In fact you did without much of what is considered a necessity today. Sorry, I am going on somewhat – it must be my age!

I am still working part-time so I am still paying tax and generating VAT. I do voluntary work in schools, and work with a drug and alcohol support organisation – all saving the state money. I am not alone. I know many pensioners who put a massive amount into their locality without reward. I don’t have an iPad, I pay £10 per month for my telephone and for my internet, I check all of my insurance payments, fuel costs and so forth, regularly to ensure that I get the best deals and do what I can to minimise waste.

Don’t worry Mr Mickelburgh, one day you will be a pensioner and reap the benefits of the lowest pension in Europe by a long way!

Keep fighting for transport

From: ME Wright, Grove Road, Harrogate, North Yorkshire.

West Yorkshire’s private operators are trying to “head off a revolution on the buses” (Yorkshire Post, June 28).

Sixty years ago, Leeds City Council took the short-sighted, cheap-jack decision to replace the entire tram system with buses, with Bradford’s trolleybuses going the same way a decade later.

This wholesale replacement of clean, responsive electric motors by stinking, sluggish diesel engines has somehow characterised the approach to public transport ever since – short-term cheapness before long-term effectiveness.

Leeds’s belated attempt to reintroduce trams was thwarted by duplicitous, London-centred government, leaving this major European conurbation bogged down with inadequate, expensive, 1960s public 

The only concession to the 
21st century is one 8.5 mile trolleybus route and that not for five more years – assuming Westminster doesn’t renege on funding again.

The less said of privatisation, the better. Metro should be given every encouragement and support in making best use of the inadequate tools available, ensuring that the urgent and demonstrable needs of passengers and community are top of the agenda. One earnest plea: could Harrogate please be included?

on a plate

From: H Marjorie Gill, Clarence Drive, Menston.

HOW I agree with RW Place (Yorkshire Post, July 3) about the food being served in English restaurants.

It is sickening when all you want is a plate of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, meat and potato pie, lamb chops, or roast pork with the appropriate vegetables including potatoes, roast, mashed or boiled, to be faced with the modern idea of spicy or herbal food with rice, food enhanced with pears, plums and so on.

Perhaps some new chef will make his fortune with serving good old English food, but until then I prefer to stay at home and cook what I enjoy.

Point of departure

From: Alf Parker, Cheviot Way, Mirfield.

I AM somewhat surprised that the BBC delayed the local news in order to continue the coverage of Wimbledon on BBC1 the other evening.

They had covered the national news and then switched to Wimbledon instead of Look North, despite the tennis already being shown on BBC2.

I could understand this if we were still in the age when BBC2 was not universally available, but all transmitters now carry BBC1, 2, 3 and 4 digital services.

Why is it necessary to kowtow to sport to replace the normally scheduled service?