Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Ten Pounds

If you are a British pensioner, did you discover an extra ten pounds sitting in your bank account during December? You may have wondered or forgotten where it came from, but others amongst you probably realised that it was a 'Christmas Gift' which came to you courtesy of the government. 
via wiki
The pensioner's Christmas gift was launched almost half a century ago in 1972 by the then Prime Minister, Ted Heath, but it has remained at £10 per pensioner since then! I recall my mother telling me about the payment at that time, and how delighted she and my father were to receive an extra £10 each. At that time £20 per pensioner couple was enough to cover the cost of a turkey dinner along with all of the trimmings for the whole of the family, and there was plenty of change left over to go towards the presents. In 1972 the £10 gift was worth more than the then weekly state pension which stood at £6.75, so the £20 gift per couple represented 3 weeks state pension at that time. Today that £10 gift is almost meaningless. This Christmas I purchased a large free range turkey breast which cost me £40, so a gift of £20 paid for just half of it.
Apparently giving a £10 payment to every pensioner costs the Government around £130 million each and every year. 
I consider that a once meaningful payment has now become a nonsense and I wonder if you, like me, think that the money would be better spent on schools, hospitals, mental health, or other current issues?

42 comments:

  1. Not being British, I feel a little reluctant to comment, but it would make sense to me, since the current payment represents mere tokenism, and makes no difference at all to the average elderly couple, to have the funds diverted to other useful purposes. Right now, it could all be profitably sent to Australia to help this fellow Commonwealth country in its darkest hour as it contends with those apocalyptic fires.

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    1. I agree wholeheartedly with you David - Australia needs as much help and financial support as it can get - I find the whole fire issue extremely frightening, not only for the Australian population who are suffering, but also for resultant effects that it is having on our beautiful planet.

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  2. Maybe it is time the payment was either revised or discontinued, although for those experiencing difficulty no doubt it is appreciated.n There are other similar examples I can think of in Australia. I have worn spectacles for over thirty years, but the rebate I receive has never changed in that time.

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    1. I could not make our bank account balance with my figures, there was £20 too much in it, and I was confused. Suddenly my husband realised what it was.

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  3. As a pensioner John gets his £10, and as David says it's really just a token now. £130M would really make a difference to our NHS or help our fellow Commonwealth countries. I've seen on the news the devastation in Australia. It's just awful and I can't begin to comprehend how frightening it must be :( Best, Jane x

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    1. As you mention Jane, it is now simply a token, but also represents a significant amount of money as a whole which could do so much more for our country or Commonwealth.

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  4. I had no idea that happened. Not the only thing to be devalued over the years. TV adverts used to be creative and fun- now 50 percent of them are simply misery and guilt inducing beg- verts- asking the public for money for thousands of different charities- every time you visit a local supermarket you run a gauntlet of shaking tins- asking the public for money... and the house landline telephone is now just a pester device for scammers where vulnerable pensioners are concerned. Give, give, give....Yet every year public services are squeezed or reduced further. Luckily, my wallet remains largely immune to influence but I'm sure many older folk-who can ill afford it- get seduced into parting coin- especially if animals are featured.

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    1. Much of the advertising on TV is a complete mystery to me. I say to my husband "what was that all about?" and he doesn't know either.

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  5. I always thought that was some kind of adjustment on the standard pension. I have to say that it seems a bit pointless now!
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s justly jocular Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. Thanks for your visit bazza - I believe that it could be spent more wisely.

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  6. Such a small gift once a year will not make people very happy I think indeed. It is better to increase the pensions regularly. Or to use the money for other things as you mentioned.

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    1. The State pensions are increased but probably not as much as many would prefer - it is always sensible and more preferable to have your own private pension. Many people buy themselves properties which guarantees them an income from rentals.

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  7. Being an American I will take a pass on commenting on this one. Instead I prefer to say... It is so nice to have you back Rosemary. I hope you have resolved your computer issues. Happy New Year!

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    1. I am getting there Catherine, but slowly. I think that I had far too many images which appears to have frozen the photo App. However, generally speaking I am getting by, but thank you for asking. I hope that 2020 is a happy year for you.

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  8. Sad that it was never index linked to keep its value. We just have a pension here in jersey. No extras. We do have a Christmas lottery where the proceeds go to needy individuals and is paid for by lottery tickets. Scary how things cost so much more compared to the 70’s. B x

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    1. If it had been indexed it would be more like £400 per couple, and that would be far too costly to the government. It needs to be spent more wisely.
      I didn't realise that you would be treated differently from other parts of the UK. However, I don't thinkthat you are missing much.

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  9. All the while, I was reading your post, I was thinking that the small amount of money could be spent more efficiently by donating it to a good cause or good causes.

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    1. Dear Gina - we shall certainly add our government gift to causes which are close to our hearts.

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  10. Dearest Rosemary,
    Guess so many 'old' rules and regulations better be adjusted in time as this hardly makes any sense now.
    Glad you're back and hope the 'Genius Bar' was beneficial to you!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - the Genius Bar helped to a certain extent but some problems still persist, and I am returning again on Saturday. Luckily I have only ever used Apple computers, so am very familiar with them, and able to find way around several of the issues that are working differently.

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  11. Hello Rosemary, I am getting cynical, and believe that if the U.K. government reallocated the money, most of it would end up in someone's pocket. I assume the money comes from taxes. If they abolish the gift, taxes will not get lower, and if they keep the money or find a destination for it, they are basically giving away taxpayer money with no input from the taxpayers. A real Gordian knot!
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - I believe that you are right to be cynical - a Gordian knot indeed. Now you have taken me back to a journey I did in Anatolia, Turkey, where I followed in the footsteps of Alexander the Great marching on a journey in 333 bc to reach Gordiumm, the capital of Phyrygia.

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  12. Perhaps you should have a referendum on this issue.

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    1. Me too, especially after seeing that image of a blackboard that you showed about Brexit outside a pub.

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  14. The changing value of money and how it was used over the years is amazing. My first real job in Torquay (secretary in an insurance company office) in 1960, paid 5 (British) pounds a week! I realize one could do a lot more with just 5 pounds back then but, ye gods!!!!!! No wonder I had to live at home, and I paid my parents 3 pounds of that for my keep!
    Also, no wonder I decided to try my luck in Washington D.C. where I started out at $100.00 a week (today that's about 76 pounds) which was huge to me then - and of course today wouldn't go far at all!

    The Christmas 'gift' does sound rather ridiculous with the price of things today, and yes British Gov't., send it instead to Australia, and quickly, the news from that fabulous Commonwealth country is frightful. When I saw the rescued baby koalas I broke down - the human deaths are of course unimaginable and so very, very sad - but the millions of animals gone are heartbreaking.

    Rosemary, Bob and I say exactly the same thing to each other regarding those often inexplicable TV ads!
    What a world we live in!
    Hugs - Mary x

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    1. Indeed what a world we live in Mary - do you, like me, think that life was far simpler when we were young, and also more carefree? You didn't have to worry about what was going on around the world because there was no instant news arriving in your living room like it does today.
      Australia is so frightening, I saw a rescued Koala being given water to drink, and when the rescuer moved the bottle away, the Koalas bear grabbed his arm and brought it back so that it could have some more, it was so desperate. The worse piece of film I have seen had wild animals screaming - it was heartbreaking.

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  15. I didn't know about this - as you suggest it seems as though it could be better spent elsewhere.

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    1. It is such an insignificant amount of money individually, but as a whole is quite a substantial sum that could benefit something more worthwhile.

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  16. Dear Rosemary,
    A note about your computer issues. Are you able to use "Team Viewer?" where you live? Maybe your son can help you even though he is far away. Or a friend or other member of your family. My niece helps me straighten out problems via "Team Viewer" She is a computer engineer.

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    1. Dear Gina - that is a great tip - thank you very much. I am not sure as yet, as I have never heard of Team Viewer before, but I will look into it. I am really grateful for your thoughtful advice Gina.

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  17. I absolutely agree with you, that money that today serves nothing for anyone individually but that has an enormous cost for the government, would serve so much better for something public like you said schools, hospitals , health research etc. But the idea in the beginning was certainly very good and helpful for people with lower income to spend a nice Christmas.

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    1. It all began with good intentions but almost 50 years later it is meaningless. However, the amount involved each year could serve a useful purpose.

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  18. Well, it has not kept up with inflation indeed. The amount I agree seems trivial to you and I....but let’s remember that at least over here and extra $10 or what ever the equivalent puts some food on the table for the elderly who are living just on their social security.

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    1. That is a timely reminder Janey - thank you. It easy to forget that something that does appear trivial could in fact mean so much more to others who are struggling.

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  19. I feel the same as you, though on reflection I know that there are some pensioners who are in a less fortunate position who might welcome even such a small extra gift at Christmas. We can always donate the money to a charity if we so wish.

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  20. To me who learned the Pensioners' Christmas gift for the first time, it looks fascinating in the spirit of giving and sharing of the Christmas. But, yes, its observance should have been revised with the time passing. I think to give the Christmas bonus to everybody flatly is not the meaning of equality. It would be more meaningful if the gift money is only to the poorer pensioners. Belated Happy New Year! Look forward to your new posts created at the new computer.

    Yoko

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  21. Hi Rosemary, yes I did get it. I think it was a nice token but now I would prefer all that money to be put into the NHS, helping veterans and the homeless, and better help for mental health patients.

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