What Bracknell Thinks: What needs to be done to help pensioners in financial crisis?By Becky Barnes
June 29, 2012
Our opinion piece features a panel of local people who will take turns to debate current topics. To join the panel or suggest a topic, email email@example.com
We asked our panel to comment on last weeks front page story about Bracknell CAB’s MoneyTalks scheme crisis.
We asked what they thought about pensioners suffering financial crisis and what needs to be done.
The Reverend Michael Bentley, chairman of The Bracknell Forest Society: “An increasing number of Bracknell people are finding it difficult to make their money go round.
“This is particularly true for pensioners, especially for those who are relying solely or mainly on their state pension.
“My prayer is that the money will be found, not just to preserve MoneyTalks, but also to increase it.”
Jonathan Greenyer, an artist and author from Winkfield: “I’m not sure what magic wand is expected to be waved here.
“If they are 65 now then we are looking at a generation of baby boomers in financial difficulty.
“They are the first generation brought up to believe that the future is always going to be better than today, that some branch of the government will sort things out.
“But of course it just can’t happen, especially if you are on a fixed income, with no access to credit, and there are limited government resources.
“This is going to be an ever bigger issue as Generation X, the complete wastrel generation, achieves pensionable age in 20 years time.
“Gawd help us when the TOWIE generation achieves retirement age.
“Now is the time for new ways of thinking; changing expectations, maybe living in communities to share costs, working with families and younger generations to solve the issues of their isolated parents, and above all using the tools available and being positive.”
Terry Pearce, chairman of Defend Our Community Services: “I have just returned from the Pensioners Parliament in Blackpool, which was attended by 1,000 retired people.
“Many people are not aware that a basic retirement pension is below the official poverty level – this is a scandal and needs to be rectified.
“VAT increases, reduction in housing benefits, increased heating costs etc, have all led to pensioners having to make difficult decisions on how they spend their meagre pensions.
“Bracknell Forest is not the poorest area in the country, but there are pockets of poverty and this includes pensioner poverty.
“There should be no division between pensioners and young people. Pensioners are fighting for decent pensions not just for themselves but also those following, including the young people getting such a raw deal at the present time.
“We should not allow the Government to divide the young and the old – we are all part of the same struggle to live in dignity on a decent income.”
Peter Smith, chairman of Bracknell Chamber of Commerce: “It is hardly surprising that our older residents are in many cases suffering even more financially than the rest of us.
“One life-saver for many people has been the Citizens Advice Bureau and they are the one organisation that provides a free service at the point of need whose impartiality is trusted above all others.
“What a shame then, that such an organisation, manned in large part by unpaid volunteers, is under threat at the very time it is needed most.”