First of all I'd like to start this edition of ze blog off by wishing everyone a happy new year and hope your plans do come to fruition.
One thing about new years is it reminds me about getting physically older even if somedays I don't half feel rough just wondering what I'll be like by the point I get into my sixties and that takes me to this weeks subject.
When you get to the point you need a lot of looking after often people move into care homes sometimes by pure choice sometimes because the Local Authority who part fund care having done the math have decided having people coming to you would cost more than you going into care.
Now the UK like many western societies, has an aging population so more folks are requiring care provision which is currently troubling our Politicians. They think they have a plan but the treasury are stalling over paying for it. It is being suggested that money currently given to every pensioner to cover the additional costs of staying warm in our cold winters - a cost that is increasing as energy costs are going through the roof - should only be given to the very poorest of pensioners. The idea being mooted is the money saved would go to pay toward care costs.
One problem I can see straight off is this will require systems and people to assess income levels to determine who gets it and who doesn't so you may not have that much by way of savings. Also in my experience, some people over 65 are still paying their mortgages off and if they have say more than £150 per week coming in it may be they have less disposable income than someone just under that amount who will get additional help.
Is that fair?
One is also inclined to say why is is that this Winter Fuel Allowance rather like the welfare bill is touchable but Overseas Aid is not particular as many reports do question it's effectiveness in helping the disadvantaged overseas? And would it not make more sense to review the cost from the commitment to Co2 emission restrictions placed on energy providers that are in part pushing up the costs of heating our homes and factories?
If energy prices could be reduced then apart from anything else the cost of the Winter Fuel Allowance might well be more sustainable. And even now pensioners are going short on heat.
I can see this upcoming year being a worrying time for the elderly.