Arguably, the elderly have worked hard, spending the better part of their lives paying taxes and contributing to the economy, earning their pensions and deserve to have a little rest and some help in their later years. The facts are; one in six pensioners have been living in poverty as home ownership has declined, rents have soared and some benefits have frozen. It has become increasingly important to be putting some money aside for retirement. At the moment, the elderly are offered: free TV licences if they are over 75, a freedom pass to travel on TFL, an attendance allowance of around £57.30 a week, pension credits, national insurance cut, winter fuel payment, senior rail card, free prescriptions, free eye tests, cold weather payment, housing benefit and council tax reduction. There are a few benefits that they may be eligible for depending on their circumstances, so if we’re honest, that’s quite a lot.
According to a report from the House of Lords, it’s been suggested that the free TV licences should be scrapped, the age threshold for freedom passes raised, and the triple-lock on pensions abolished to close the widening gap between the young and the old.
Lord True has recommended investing in social and private housing so young people can stop feeling the brunt of the current housing market crisis, and bring in new laws to protect the rights of renters.
On the other hand, for young people, the concerns are different. Young people are entering the job market and finding it really competitive. When struggling to find a job, they head to the Job Centre to sign on the meantime; getting on Job Seekers Allowance or Universal Credit. Job Seekers Allowance is at least £57.90 per week, and more if you are over 24, while Universal Credit is usually around £251 a month. Universal credit also offers free prescriptions, dental care and eye tests under a certain threshold income. If you have living costs, you may be eligible for housing benefits to help to cover some of these costs.
So, the question is, who needs the help more? Personally, I think the evidence is overwhelming – though I do have sympathy for the elderly, as they do need help, I feel it is quite unbalanced.
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