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To think stopping the pension triple lock and bus passes would reduce inequality

(247 Posts)
feellikeahugefailure Sun 12-Jun-16 08:29:11

Yes it would be great to give everyone free bus travel and put up their money each year. But the country is already in a financial black hole.

Most other benefits have been frozen for years but pensioners protected. Also the bus pass is given universally and not means tested, where as the bus pass for the unemployed was axed years ago.

There are many people like my wealthy ex in-laws who used the bus pass to avoid paying parking and getting the BMW scratched. The state pension they always called peanuts - as it was compared to their final salary pension. These changes would not affect their lifestyle one bit.

Ideally I'd like unemployed people and poor pensioners to get some help with bus travel (as it can be super expensive) and increases each year in money to allow people at the bottom to live their life with dignity, regardless of age.

Bertieboo1 Sun 12-Jun-16 08:36:56

I totally agree. It drives me nuts that my well-off parents and inlaws get free bus passes when they are both 2 car households, increasing pensions and winter fuel payments which they don't need. All of the above should be means tested to help less well-off pensioners who have to pay rent. And younger people who might be dealing with massive student debt/unemployment/impossibility of laying rent or buying in some areas of the country.

MurphysChild Sun 12-Jun-16 08:39:40


CPtart Sun 12-Jun-16 08:42:10


RealityCheque Sun 12-Jun-16 08:42:55

Why would you means test something, if means testing itself would cost more than it saves?

It really is that simple.

juneau Sun 12-Jun-16 08:45:12

I agree. All my retired relatives get umpteen benefits they don't need. My aunt who rides the bus while a car sits in her driveway and she enjoys three expensive holidays a year, my parents with their winter fuel allowance, two cars on the driveway and a holiday home abroad. Before long they'll all be getting a free TV licence - its just utterly ridiculous.

David Cameron 'warning' pensioners that 'out' will threaten their comfortable lives though is just one more of his scare tactics. Personally, one of the best things about a Brexit will be getting rid of him as our PM.

witsender Sun 12-Jun-16 08:46:11

I think the issue is that pensioners in the whole have no ability to go out and get work and so cannot increase their income any other way. Whereas a person of working age can, and that is what the system is designed to encourage. So they need to lock in the pension provision because cost of living goes up regardless. Many pensioners are in a next poverty and have to choose between food and fuel, what would you see happen to them? I do believe that disability linked benefits ought to benefit from the same locked in protection for the same reason.

I can see a case for means testing bus passes, but can also see the argument that it would cost more...and that actually allowing pensioners free access to public transport thereby increasing independence etc is a good thing.

timeforabrewnow Sun 12-Jun-16 08:46:46

Trouble with that is - the bureaucracy and expense of means testing. The rich people would find a clever loophole for their money, so they still get the benefits, while some less well off pensioners would have to fill out another complicated form to receive the benefit (think of the mess of child tax credits)and then could end up not getting it if deemed to fall in the upper middle ground etc.

- yes we are still paying off a £25.66 a month because we were 'overpaid' for some time, despite ALWAYS informing them of every job change and filling out every stupid form correctly every time!!)

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sun 12-Jun-16 08:46:46

What RealityCheque said.
I agree young poor people are getting a raw deal. But this is a political choice, not because there is a fixed amount of money available for bus passes and all politicians have the power to change is who they give it to.

toomuchtooold Sun 12-Jun-16 08:47:06

Personally, one of the best things about a Brexit will be getting rid of him as our PM.

It would be the only good thing! 10 minutes of elation for the left wing, followed by a recession.

witsender Sun 12-Jun-16 08:47:20

We want less cars on the road for a start, and if they own cars they don't use they are still paying car tax on them.

SaucyJack Sun 12-Jun-16 08:48:21

I'm quite happy for bus passes to be universal, although I think the qualifying age should be raised for the well-off.

There comes a point in life for some people where it is safer for all road users for them to stop driving, and if a free bus pass helps incentivise someone to give up when the time comes, then I'm all for it.

JaceLancs Sun 12-Jun-16 08:48:39

I'm not sure that means testing does cost more than it saves............we are told so but it works in other areas, tax credit, universal credit, child benefit, council tax, Carer's allowance, help with health costs etc.
Why is means testing for pensioners different?
I would only allow winter fuel payment and free bus passes for those on pension credit, who have already been means tested and are known to be on a low income in their retirement

QueenLaBeefah Sun 12-Jun-16 08:49:23

It would be fairly easy to means test TBH

They should only get it if the are in receipt of pensioner credits. Not a vote winner though.

sparechange Sun 12-Jun-16 08:49:42

Ideally I'd like unemployed people and poor pensioners to get some help with bus travel

Surely poor pensioners already get a bus pass?

I think it has been said many times that it would cost more to administer a means testing scheme than it costs to give a universal benefit. Same with winter fuel allowance. So taking it away from the better off won't leave anything to spend on anyone else.
And the rich pensioners have spent years and years being higher rate tax payers, contributing massively to the system. I can't outraged over them getting something in their old age.

MissMargie Sun 12-Jun-16 08:50:26

I thought the bus pass was to get people in cars off the road.

And any retired person on a whacking great pension is paying a whacking great amount of tax like everyone else.

I get my pension at 66 1/2

If I can't party in the last decade or so of life, whilst my health is ok when can I.

BillSykesDog Sun 12-Jun-16 08:52:21

YANBU, totally agree. The richest people in my family get the most benefits. A relative actually gives me their state pension every month because they don't need it.

Ireallydontseewhy Sun 12-Jun-16 08:52:46

My impression is that the 'rich' countries with most means testing also have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income. Ie sweden versus usa. No idea if that is actually true, but it is the impression i have! Means testing doesn't necessarily reduce inequality because you have problems with people not taking up means tested benefits, 'stigma' - and by far most importantly, gradual erosion of support for 'the welfare state' from those who don't get means tested benefits, so that those benefits are much less 'generous'.

ilovesooty Sun 12-Jun-16 08:52:56

Here we go again.

BillSykesDog Sun 12-Jun-16 08:56:18

The state isn't there to help people 'party' though is it? It's just there to keep people in an acceptable standard of living. Can you imagine the fuss if a 25 year old was provided with a 'party' lifestyle by the state? Even if they were disabled.

Also not pleasant when you consider that the next generation are likely to be working into their 70s and dying on their feet to fund the 'party' for today's pensioners.

But it's a numbers game and there's more of them and they vote.

witsender Sun 12-Jun-16 08:58:06

Party is a relative term though isn't it.

mollie123 Sun 12-Jun-16 08:59:26

For balance:
the bus pass is only of great monetary value if the pensioner lives somewhere there is an excellent bus service - think London freedom pass and other big cities (also note the fact that it only costs if it is used - so my using mine perhaps once a year when I am on holiday without my car) is hardly a vast amount of money.
The winter fuel allowance is frozen at £200 a year - has been that for many years and is per household (so £100 per person unless you are a single person).
Finally :
the state pension is contributed to during the working life (actually while working it is paying for existing pensioners but that is academic and the way it has always been). It is TAXED so all your rich inlaws/relatives with index linked final salary pensions may well be paying 40% of their state pension back to the government.
I am sure you are aware of all these facts but just enjoy a bit of 'pensioner bashing' hmm

jacks11 Sun 12-Jun-16 09:01:14

Why would you means test something, if means testing itself would cost more than it saves?

^ I agree with this. However tempting it is to means test, and in principle I agree it would be fairer to means test things like the bus pass, winter fuel allowance and so on, the reality is that doing so would cost more than any potential savings. So what is the point? Unless you think we should do the means testing on point of principle rather than on a financial basis?

Also agree with PP that the reason for the lock is supposed to be because retirees cannot work to bring in more money whilst living costs go up over time- the triple lock is supposed to provide some cushioning to that. Again, means-testing whether you should 'triple lock" only some peoples state pension and not others would be time consuming and expensive- likely more than you'd save.

Also, remember from a politician's point of view pensioners are more likely to vote- they are unlikely to want to upset that particular apple cart.

gamerchick Sun 12-Jun-16 09:01:46

Ooooh is start on pensioners time, do we have pensioner telly to look forward too of them living it up and they're all freeloaders bleeding the country dry? Geddin grin

Ireallydontseewhy Sun 12-Jun-16 09:06:52

I agree that this current generation of 20 somethings are worse off than the last few were bill, but i think that is really mostly to do with housing costs and, if they went to university, student loan repayments if they earn above the threshold - rather than the cost of bus passes. Their tax rates (minus student loan repayments) are significantly lower than those that were paid by those now getting a free bus pass, when they were in their twenties. It is not the cost of paying benefits, but the proportion of young people's income that goes on housing - not just rent, but also the cost of moving, renewing tenancy agreements etc - that makes such a difference.

you'd also have to set the threshold very low to save significant amounts - down to the level of pension credits, as a pp suggested. That would have some (probably not that much) effect on incentives to save - which we supposedly want to encourage.

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