Thursday, 21 August 2008

Labour shoots itself in the foot, part 2

This time it’s pensions.
Yesterday I bought the Guardian. This is not a paper I regularly read but it was the only one without a front page story about a pervert. The Daily Mail was the worst with its best and worst headline but why oh why can’t they let our athletes enjoy the limelight without trashing it in that way.
I digress. On their letters and emails page there was a couple of letters of note. Recently there had been some comment on pensions and our hapless Minister for Pensions Mike O’Brian MP felt he just had to defend his boss and Labours record on pensions. I quote “the government is committed to tackling pensioner poverty.( this took a second or two to sink in I’m thinking which planet does he live on) In 1997 the poorest pensioners lived on £69 per week - today pensioner credit means no pensioner need live on less than £124 a week. This winter there will be an extra £50 on top of the winter fuel payments for households with someone aged 60-79”.
Well firstly he wants to try and live on 124 quid a week and secondly the increase he mentions nowhere near keeps up with the underlying inflation his boss has been cheating pensioners out of for the last ten years. Pensioner credit is the most hated form of pensioner means testing ever devised and shows that we have an uncaring minister handling things. The extra 50 quid he mentions will not cover one month’s gas payment. He is from a long line of Labour ministers who think they can ride rough shod over pensioners. Malcolm Wykes (strategy avoid going to meetings where pensioners will ask awkward questions), Steven Timms ("you’ve never had it so good" booed at pensioners parliament, Peter Haine ("have to make sure pensioners are value for money" introduction of FAS) and now the idiots guide to pensions Mike O’Brian. He goes on to tell us that from October it will be easier to claim pensioner credits, housing benefit and council tax benefit in one free phone call. Can you imagine; press one for council tax, two for pensioner credit etc etc ect “ all our pensions advisors are busy you a number 682 in the queue your call is important to us an advisor will be with you shortly” press 25 if you are still awake oops sorry your time has run out no award this time try again later. That is if you eventually get to speak to a human being.
A later letter reminded George Osborn that it was Margaret Thatcher who cut the link with pensions and earnings. If labour had re-introduced this link; Mr O’Brian; when requested, basic state pensions would now be 155 quid a week. We would have no need for means testing and you could fire that army of civil servants you have administering it. So please don’t write in the press such utter twoddle and give us a decent basic state pension now. Gordon’s slight of hand solutions have been spotted you are not fooling any of us any more.
Bob the Black Country Brummie verdict ”must do very much better”

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