Is it time to stop feather-bedding the oldies?
Remember the dramatic month of September 2007. Big new public spending announcement were being made by the day as the Brown government was preparing the ground for an autumn general election.
One of those bribes was, for the over-60s in England, the national bus pass scheme which allows free travel anywhere in the country on local services. It’s great – I love it. Not only does it give me free travel near my home but I can hop on a bus without paying for what should be covered by legitimate business expenses such as for the service taking me between the station and the university for last week’s general election conference in Nottingham.
At it turned out the deluge of announcements from that September were to no avail. Brown bottled the election.
Given the scale of the deficits that ministers tell us that we have shouldn’t some of the give-aways from the final period of the last government be suspended or even abandoned all together?
What about, for instance, the winter fuel payment for the over-60s or free TV licences for people when they reach 75.
If Osborne is going to cut back on some of the costly benefits to the elderly then now, surely, is the time to do it. The public have been prepared for belt-tightening.