Wednesday 16 May 2012


Stop bragging about giving the pensioners a "record £5.30" a week increase. 

Let's get it clear, it was the amount you were obliged to give them, given that it was the "official" inflation rate at the moment which, by law, these things are settled. 

We all know that the "official" inflation rate is unlikely to be the real inflation rate, especially for the poor who spend a disproportionate amount on food and heat. Given that gas increased by about 17% and electricity by 11%, and that food inflation has been running at around 10%, the £5,30 has not even brought the pensioners back to last year's income.  

You could add (because pensioners are) that to pay for the very rich receiving a reduction in tax on the money they earn OVER £150,000 a year, pensioners will no longer get that little extra tax relief that they have had since Mr Churchill introduced it in 1925. 

It's estimated that this will hit 5 million pensioners and cost them up to £250 a year.

While you are thinking about this "record £5,30", you might also like to remember that, with interest rates at their lowest ever level, pensioners get less and less money from their savings. I never hear that mentioned by the government.

Why not also mention that you reduced the winter fuel allowance by £50 and by a massive £100 for the over 80s. That's £1 and £2 a week respectively. Seemingly that has slipped your collective mind. Strange, given the promise Cameron made to keep all these benefits at the same level as he inherited.

You could, of course, brag instead that, because the law says you have to do this, you were also obliged to pay all the "dole  scroungers" and "sickness benefit cheats" (including the 500,000 that Mr Duncan Smith is going to have off that benefit and back to work in the next four years!!), exactly the same percentage increase? But that doesn't tug at the heart strings of the public, does it? And it's difficult to paint people who are sick or unemployed as demons while bragging that you gave them record level increases, isn't it?

And people might get to thinking that the only reason that there are "record" increases is that there is "record" inflation....

I only warn you out of the goodness of my heart because every pensioner I know gets so angry when they hear it trotted out again and again as if there is some sort of beneficence involved. Even Tory voting pensioners are sick of being used. I fear a rash of heart attacks and pensioner deaths if this bragging continues. And you wouldn't want that, would you?


  1. Actuallly, you're wrong on two rather important points.

    The first is that there is only the legal obligation to increase pensions in line with inflation because this government passed a law creating that legal obligation.

    The second is that this government did not cut the winter fuel allowance. The last government introduced a time limited increase in the winter fuel allowance (to make up for abolishing the 10p tax band) and this temporary increase expired (purely coincidentally of course) shortly after the general election. That is not the same thing as this government cutting the winter fuel allowance and you know it.

    Now, the point you make about the pension increase not being good at wining votes - for the reasons you explain - is a fair one even though I don't entirely agree with it.

    However, it might be nice if, in future, you got your facts right first.

  2. I think I would be right, George, in saying that prior to new policies on brought in by the coalition, in which the pensions are raised by price inflation or average wage inflation, whichever was the larger, there was another rule.

    It was instituted by Mrs Thatcher in (or around) 1980 when she abolished a previous rule that said that pensions rose with the average wage inflation. It said that pensions (and other benefits) would rise with the rate of inflation.

    It led, you may remember, at a period of very low inflation, to a disparaging rise of 50p a week in the state pension under brown's chancellorship. (No one would have expected Brown to have the political nose for trouble, but you'd have thought that Mandelson would have advised against that particular folly. 50p a week caused bitter resentment.

    I have already, at some stage in the past, commented on the fact that surprisingly for a Tory chancellor, it was a good move to try to redress the issue the vast amount that Thatcher took from pensioners, making them the poorest (by comparison to wages) of any western European country and leaving a situation where the ones who had nothing else to live on...and there were/are many... have been obliged to seek housing benefits and pension credits... humiliating for people who have worked all their lives.

    What Mrs Thatcher did, incidentally, wouldn't have been so nauseatingly repugnant to decent human beings, had she not made political capital, whilst in opposition, about the plight of pensioners who had lived through the privations of two world wars having to live on a pittance from the British government. Once in power she raised the pension immediately on a one off, but by a reasonable amount, and then systematically reduced it every year. Pensioners might be £30 or £40 better off per week by now had it not been for her meanness.

  3. tris

    you been teld so get yer facts right.......mind as a Nationalist its not a trait used a lot if at all

  4. As for the time lapsed extra payment for freezing old people, Cameron was careful not to mention that when he insisted that Labour were liars, he would not reduce the payments and that he took the plight of pensioners very very seriously.

    I have checked with all the pensioners I know over the last year or so since he reduced the payments.

    Every single one of them was under the impression that what he said (in the now famous clip for Sky, where he was obviously rattled by the questioner who wanted it made clear what his position was) was that they would get the same as they had under Brown. (I expect that people of his class don't like to be cross examined by ordinary people... that's certainly how it looked.)

    If he had wanted to be honest with pensioners at that point why didn't he say that he would pay exactly what he inherited, remembering that the extra had only been temporary for a couple of years. And tell them what they would actually get.

    Maybe because the prime minister's job was so close, he wanted it so badly...Brown was worse than a catastrophe and bound to lose... he could have it... but what he didn't want was pile of poor working old people getting bent out of shape and voting for Catastrophe Brown.

    I suspect that if he had said he was taking £100 from over 80s and £50 for the rest of them, there are quite a few pensioners who wouldn't have given him their vote. And he wouldn't be prime minister...

    Your know, Cameron actually manages to make me feel physically sick.

  5. LOL @ Niko.

    Labour always get their facts right of course. That's why Lamont always looks so proud of herself every Thursday, when once again her pathetic argument is blow to smithereens, and Eck points out that... "maybe Johann Lamont hasn't had time to read..."

    Ooooops again. Mind you, she is on good company. Elmer Fudd's research team never got anything right either... and I'm told that Bendy's voice could be heard screaming at her researchers from the other side of parliament.

    Is there anyone in the Labour party who can read?


  6. There is no place for sophistry in political discourse, it demeans the point your trying to make.

    The winter fuel payment was cut shortly after/while David Cameron was PM.

    Its a bit like labour saying the SNP built no new schools after 2007, what actually happened was, they built the same number of schools labour had planned to build, but since it wasn't them who made the decision to biuld them; they didn't count. Labour felt they could 'accuse' the Scottish government of not building any new schools at all.

    Also, is not a legal obligation more binding than an obligation? I mean, if you are legally obligated to do something, don't you have to do it? If you'd said it was only an obligation and not a legal one at that, it would make sense...

    Not quite sure what you mean by that.

  7. Oh CH, Sorry, I started to watch that but the voice was like nails on a blackboard to me, so I had to give up... but I get the drift of it... and she's probably right... she should just come back and tell me about it in 10 years' time :)

  8. As I understand it Pa, it was a legal obligation to pay the rate of inflation before the current government made it a legal obligation either pay the rate of price inflation or wage inflation, whichever was the higher.

    The fact that they dithered for a few days about whether or not to pay that to the "scroungers" indicates that they didn't want to, but were advised by their legal people that they were obliged to.

    At least that's one step up from Labour, who, when faced with legal advice they didn't like, sent someone done the corridor to "persuade" the attorney general that he was mistaken.

    They probably don't do that sort of thing at Eton. Chaps don't threaten other chaps...not when they went to the same school and are in the same club... oh dear no... it simply wouldn't do.

  9. I’m not sure what Mr Potter is talking about I understood that the Winter Fuel Payment was set as part of the annual budget. Indeed I’m not the only one to think that the Lib Dem minister of state for pensions Steve Web said in a debate in the Commons on 18 Oct 2010 (i.e. just after the election)“In winter 2010, the winter fuel payment will continue to be paid at the higher rate of £250 or £400, according to family circumstances. Decisions about the rates for future winters will be taken as part of the annual Budget cycle, as normal.”

    That would seem to me to imply that when Mr Cameron said on national TV that he would not alter the rates of Winter Fuel Payments to pensioners but then did as part of Mr Osborne’s 2011 budget cycle by reducing them from £250 to £200 and £400 to £300 he was lying. Oh and that Mr Potter would seem to be using once again that old Lib Dem tactic of employing “facts” that are not in actual fact “facts”. Either that of his Lib Dem associate Mr Web is, like Mr Cameron, also an out and out liar.

  10. Thanks for that research Munguin. I was only relying on memory of what I've read in the past. Clearly Mr Webb cleared that up for us.