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Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article  |email to friendemail to friend
From: The Socialist issue 696, 30 November 2011: 30 November shows... We can win!

Search site for keywords: Poverty - George Osborne - Pensioners - Gas

The Tory solution to pensioner poverty?

The winter fuel allowance scandal

Derek McMillan

You will have heard of Good King Wenceslas. You may not have heard of his evil twin Bad King Wenceslas.

Bad King Wenceslas (aka chancellor George Osborne) sent a servant to the old man gathering winter fuel. He took a quarter of the fuel telling the peasant he had far too much. "And while we are about it you are living far too long so we will have a chunk of your pension too - now be off with you!"

George Osborne secretly cut the winter fuel allowance, paid to most people who are 60 or older. However the information did not form part of the 100+-page budget document.

This news came just weeks after all the biggest power firms hiked the price of gas and electricity, with more rises predicted. You didn't hear about it? No - because the papers were full of stories of celebrities eating cockroaches. A diet we may all have to get used to if things don't alter!

Most of those aged 60-79 will get 200 instead of last year's 250 when the payment is made in November or December. Those who are 80 or older will get 300 instead of 400.

The government bewail the fact that people are living longer and they cite this as a pretext for cutting pensions.

Well, cutting the winter fuel allowance is a good way to make sure they die soon enough.

Merry Christmas Millionaire Osborne - don't get cold now.

Only the power of the organised working class stands between the poor and this involuntary euthanasia. Yet too many trade union leaders insist on backing Labour. The half-hearted opposition is hopelessly compromised by their pro-privatisation record in office.

We need a party of the working class. A party to stand up for pensioners not rob them.

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