Retain free bus passes and Winter Fuel Allowance for pensioners
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Conservative leader of the Local Government Association Lord Gary Porter publicly called for “an end to free bus passes for the elderly and for the automatic paying of winter fuel allowance to pensioners to be scrapped as a way of saving money that could be reinvested into social care.”
(Source: Huffington Post - 10th January 2017)
Derbyshire Labour knows the health, well-being, social and economic life of most pensioners is enhanced by free access to buses and assistance with payments for winter fuel with the worst off older people benefitting the most.
The idea that the crisis in health and social care is caused by these benefits and that pensioners should pay for this is completely misguided.
Indeed it is bus travel and help with heating that keeps people healthy and reduces the overall care bill. No one should doubt that if these two benefits were to go then the crisis in health would worsen rather than improve.
- HM Government
We understand that Lord Porter has a weekly meeting with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid Javid.
Lord Porter’s view is not widely supported, but given his pronouncement we are concerned that pensioner bus passes and winter fuel allowances may be taken away from recipients in order to contribute to funding of social care.
Older people tend generally to be less physically active as they become older and therefore have more of a tendency to hypothermia. During the winter the fuel allowance is an invaluable in preventing hypothermia and enabling older people to be comfortable.
Many older people are dependent on bus travel for shopping and social activity. Additionally, some pensioners face substantially increased motor insurance costs and driving restrictions forcing them onto public transport later in life.
Both benefits promote physical, social and mental wellbeing.
We, the undersigned, should be grateful for a reassurance that reducing or removing entitlements from pensioners will not be considered in any budget deliberations.
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