UK Spending Review

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UK Spending Review

Post by Geotherm on Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:25 pm

This could be interesting as the EU told the UK that they had to pay out!!

Osborne says he will stop winter fuel payments being paid to people living abroad. From 2015, it will be linked to a temperature test. People in hot countries won't get it.

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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by Miss Demeanor on Wed Jun 26, 2013 12:45 pm

What is considered as "hot"?

What will they do with people living in the Pratola Peligna region for example where they can get up to 7 feet of snow in Winter and roasted alive in Summer?

I know! Just give 'em a shell to live in - wonderful protection!  affraid
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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by Gala Placidia on Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:01 pm

It could also be said that, sometimes, summer temperatures in London have reached 30° C and the UK will not qualify as a particularly "hot" country. Then, even in so called "hot" countries, such as perhaps Italy or Spain, regional differences mean that you cannot generalize. Many British people living overseas are pensioners and most of these people need all the help they can get, at least up to the same level "enjoyed" by pensioners living in the UK. It is only a matter of fairness to all.
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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by Angie 2 on Wed Jun 26, 2013 8:18 pm

Am inviting George to spend a jolly weekend with us in Marche, when the snow is on the ground, my winter fuel payment has been worked for and is deserved!...

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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by ghiro on Wed Jun 26, 2013 10:07 pm

I'm with Angie 2 here Very Happy

The winter fuel allowance is an integral part of the State Pension.  Whether rich or poor everyone pays NI and your ultimate pension relates to what you have contributed over your lifetime.

To suggest that some knobhead in Whitehall, who has never been further south than Clacton, can decide that Le Marche is warmer in winter than Wigan is complete insanity Shocked

(I remember vividly arriving at Pisa Airport one January evening, when it was -2C, and meeting Mr America coming out of Arrivals wearing a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, white socks and sandals and looking a tad uncomfortable!).
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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by Vicino on Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:56 am

I still have the photos of the metre deep trench through the snow that I had to dig to get out of the house a winter or two ago, maybe I'll send them in to 'Jeffrey' !

I also agree that it is an 'entitlement' and has been part of all of our work related 'savings' that we all contributed towards to help our futures.

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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by Gala Placidia on Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:03 am

It looks as if politicians, from all nationalities, the UK is no exception, tend to think that pensions are a very generous "gift" from the government and not the result of years and years of contributions to the pensions fund. Certainly, we should remember that those same politicians get a special treatment from those same funds to which they do not contribute in the same way as ordinary mortals. In many countries, a politician may retire early after only being in Parliament for a limited time, not the long years that again, ordinary mortals, have to wait in order to benefit from a pension.... And, besides being ordinary mortals, we are the silly ones who vote them in.... Mondo cane!
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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by Vicino on Thu Jun 27, 2013 7:26 am

A very interesting topic for me. I think the EU will have the last say on the winter fuel payments WITHIN the EU. It is something that most of us will have paid into through our superannuation payments.

One thing I would like to change is the 'close to retiring' last minute change of job in the public sector.

I recall a new Council Chief Exec being recruited a few years ago on some £200k per annum, having moved up a few notches in the hierarchy. TWELVE months later the poor soul was stressed and was retired through ill health, with a retirement package based on 30 years service. The key issue was that the whole 30 years retirement package was based on the £200k salary not the average salary over the 30 years. Consequently, a huge lump sum and then a great annual income for life !

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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by Gala Placidia on Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:37 am

Stress is a real killer! I feel so sorry for the poor soul!!! Rolling Eyes
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Yes same as most public sector workers, but...

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Thu Jun 27, 2013 12:57 pm

Vicino wrote:I still have the photos of the metre deep trench through the snow that I had to dig to get out of the house a winter or two ago, maybe I'll send them in to 'Jeffrey' !I also agree that it is an 'entitlement' and has been part of all of our work related 'savings' that we all contributed towards to help our futures.V

Yes same as most public sector workers, but I remember years ago working in the public sector and the average workers (mostly the younger people) were paying out more in benefit to people than they themselves were earning. They were told at the time "well part of your pay rise (when there was a one) goes to your great final pension salary". So year after year they were told this and now you want to move the goal posts... Mmmm seems to me both things are the same, contributions have been paid, promises made, then the goal posts should not be moved in either case No

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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by Carciofo on Thu Jun 27, 2013 5:22 pm

I find subjects like these (i.e. pensions, allowances, benefits etc.) completely bewildering because public statements made by governments over time are so contradictory.  First of all, they tell us that many pensioners are (or feel) so poor that they neglect themselves in winter by not heating their houses well enough.  I remember the winter fuel allowance being given specifically to help alleviate this problem.  Then we hear that the richest segment of society is the pensioners.  

I don't know what proportion of pensioners are really well off, but I also remember hearing an interview with a think tank spokesman who explained that it cost more money than the benefit was worth, to find out who amongst the recipients are the ones who really need it.  Now it appears to be possible to target not only those people who live abroad but also those in specific areas.  Can it really make financial sense to do so?  What proportion of UK pensioners live in "hot countries"?   scratch

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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by Angie 2 on Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:27 pm

Thats a really interesting prospective Carciofo, and something we have been discussing, not cost effective to police, and obviously there are many who do not "need" it but people that also rely on it. Will be interesting to see what is mooted as a hot country, doesnt George go to Tenerife for his hols?......oh and he tipped in Italy/or not depending on the newspaper.....the horror!.

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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by The Original Relaxed on Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:03 pm

None of this interests me personally, but I'd be much happier to see winter fuel payments 'means tested' on a temperature basis than to see travel benefits curtailed.
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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by Flying pigs on Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:36 am

At least the winter fuel allowance is equal to all.  The travel benefits vary so much.  For Londoners the benefit of free travel on all busses, trains and trams is incredible.  However, we live just outside in Surrey and our bus travel card (or my husband's, I am not quite there yet) is virtually worthless as we have very little usable public transport.  Our village is only two miles from the local commuter station to London, and yet we have no bus route to it!  When we speak to the bus company they say it is because we all use cars!  It is a chicken and egg situation.

I agree that the costs of administering either a means tested winter fuel allowance or a temperature/location based one probably far outweighs the savings.

The goal posts with pensions are increasingly moving.  It was not so long ago that I was going to get my pension at 60 - that was what all the planning was based on.  Then they moved the goal posts to age 65, and then again to 66.  I am not going to hold my breath that I will get anything at all.  What really made me cross when they increased the age at which females received the pension, they reduced the number of years of contributions necessary - from 44 to 30 I think - what was that all about?

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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:57 am

Yep the country is broke (what again, it has been so many times in my life time), so we will rip up all agreements. Oh yes, we did tell you to save and plan for your retirement, but the country needs the money now, so tough! A bunch of smarmy gangsters in suits the lot of them!! Rant totally over...

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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by stevegwmonkseaton on Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:17 am

... oh and getting back to the original post, looks like they agree Italy is not hot  in winter. Hot countries ...

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Pensions hole

Post by Sagraiasolar on Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:24 am

from 'The Money Spy'

Last year I did a list of each country’s national debt divided by population to see what the next generation might either pay interest on or pay back.
Examples in $1000 per head:
UK 26.5
Ireland 35
Germany 28
France 31
Spain 17.5
Italy 38
Japan 83
USA 29
Canada 37
Norway 39
Australia 11.5
So what you might say? As a percentage of GDP it’s not so much … well that’s got naff all to do with it too unless there is a current a/c surplus … if you cut someone’s hair it adds to GDP but it hardly pays the £26,500 you owe on top of the £10,000 on your credit card.
Obviously, in the UK, with the old folks about to fund the out of work young folks as well as the civil servants, NHS etc (biggest GDP earners presumably and therefore the biggest ‘so what’ in this whole sad tale) this black hole is here to stay for a long time.
To get away from the obvious side of the story let’s have a look at the other side of the loans – the £26,500 each and every one of us had borrowed on their behalf… someone is the lender and so they will either ask for it back one day or extend the loan forever and the borrowers (you) will pay the interest. As the banks already went bust then presumably the debt is met by bond issuance from each government … “wow government – must be safe” bonds of course.
So who owns the bonds? i.e who is hoping to get paid back?  As it’s not countries per se nor banks so much, it must be the pension funds and the pension funds have your money in trust for when you retire. So the money they are going to give to you one day is indirectly the money you already owe ? And in order to realise that money, the pension funds have to redeem the bonds so the government has to find the money to give the pension providers to give to you….. enough of that … the real truth is that the government bought votes by indirectly spending your pension fund over the past few decades. The government borrowed from the very people it was robbing at the time. Many pension plans will have to go pear-shaped… whose will be first?  Do you doubt this? In that case just tell me who is going to produce your £26,500?
Any thoughts out there?
Patrick O’Connormist is this week’s guest contributor to The Money Spy blog
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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by Vicino on Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:35 am

sagraiasolar............

Great stuff ! Is there a suggested solution ?

I do seem to recall (about 5/6 years back), a young unemployed chap saying that there should be a one off lump sum tax of 10% of the value of the estate of anyone over the age of 55. The argument being that these very people (over 55s) had benefitted from free University education, pushed house prices far beyond the reach of young people and they should pay something back to help the young !!!!

Wowza !!


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Re: UK Spending Review

Post by Carciofo on Fri Jun 28, 2013 12:48 pm

Sagraiasolar wrote:from 'The Money Spy' Last year I did a list of each country’s national debt divided by population to see what the next generation might either pay interest on or pay back.Examples in $1000 per head:... As a percentage of GDP it’s not so much … well that’s got naff all to do with it too unless there is a current a/c surplus … if you cut someone’s hair it adds to GDP but it hardly pays the £26,500 you owe on top of the £10,000 on your credit card … “



Interesting article, but I notice he starts off quoting figures in dollars and then translates the $26.5k per head into £26.5 which is quite a bit higher - but, ok, I take the point.  
 
Well I wasn't educated for free and neither was my husband.  Furthermore, we have lived pretty frugally over the years, still live in the first house we ever bought and never got into debt (probably because we have not had children) so I don't personally feel at all responsible for the state of the economy.    And I don’t think that people who had a free education pushed the price of housing up.  The inevitable rise in the price of housing took off when it became easier to borrow money against a rising market and virtually everyone was in on it.  This “cheap money” resulted in an exponential rise in house prices which then made a lot of people believe that they could carry on borrowing with impunity.  London, in particular, is now so expensive that soon the only people who can live there will be highly paid professionals. How boring.  I'd much rather think that my neighbours were a mix of people from different backgrounds and involved in many different types of work, but can, e.g. carpenters, mechanics or teachers afford to live in London now?  
 
Anyway the point I really meant to make is that our generation did have the option at least to buy a place to live in at a mortgage level that was more or less affordable.  As a result we have ended up with savings that allow us to have a more pleasant and enjoyable old age.  That's quite apart from any value in our house which is comforting but really only a value on paper because one has got to live somewhere.
 
So pensions may be the issue of the future, but I reckon the housing market has been the issue of the past and no one has had any interest in tackling it, perhaps because of a slavish belief that “the market is always right”.

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