Withdrawal of the free bus pass would be political suicide for any Government

While I am not in a position to make promises of freebies to my golden oldie contacts, I am totally convinced that despite the rumour mill suggesting otherwise, there will be no move to end the availability of our bus passes.

Withdrawal of the free bus pass would be political suicide for any Government contemplating saving money by making us pay to use buses.

The scheme is here to stay, especially as it makes good social and indeed economic sense for the country.

Getting older people out and about in the community means they have the opportunity to spend money, restricting them to their homes would not be clever. A situation well appreciated by the Scottish Government who will need every vote they can muster at the next Scottish elections.

Socially it also makes sense to have older people making contact with others, as witness my own experience on the local buses which is always good for a laugh each time I head for Ellon town centre, or even further afield.

Keeping older people exercising their minds as well as limbs makes for a good and healthy society, at ease with itself, while being at one.

Interestingly the harbingers of gloom, spreading the rumour that the scheme will end in 2016, seem to come from citizens 10 to 20 years short of being eligible for a pass of their own.

I have encountered such people who are full of malice and nastiness towards my age group. I actually feel sorry for them, particularly in the knowledge that I know this social service is set to be with us for a long, long time, certainly beyond my lifetime.

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Bus fare charged for 17 month old accompanied by bus pass holders.

“IN Newport recently with my husband and grandchild who is 16 months old and in a pushchair, we were going to visit my daughter in Maindee. We went to catch a green bus, number 8c.

My husband gave the driver our bus passes, but was told we would have to pay for the child.

When I asked him why we had to pay as we have never paid for him on any other bus service as he is a baby, the bus driver said he had worked on the buses for 17 years and a child has to pay because we were riding free.

I know a child has to be under five not to pay. We have taken our grandson on many bus rides and the driver has never asked us to pay for him.

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Pensioners hit hardest by £9BILLION welfare spending cuts

shock report reveals that a quarter of welfare cuts fall on pensioner households with pension credit, attendance allowance and diability living allowance for OAPs.
Savage spending cuts will soar to nearly £9billion a year, hitting pensioners hardest, a shock report reveals today.

The study shows PM David Cameron has broken his pre-election pledge to protect the elderly, with a quarter of welfare cuts falling on pensioner households.

The Tory-led Government’s biggest cut is a £3.8billion-a-year reduction in pension credit, which tops up weekly income to a guaranteed minimum.

Other cuts include a £138million-a-year reduction in the value of attendance allowances – paid to those who look after relatives – and £340million off disability living allowances for OAPs.

A large chunk of the losses comes from switching the inflation measure used to set benefits each year from the Retail Prices Index to the lower Consumer Prices Index.

The cuts faced by pension households – single people or couples where at least one person is of pension age and where no adults work – will be worse after the next election.

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11 good reasons why pensioners can benefit from learning to use the Internet

Being able to use the Internet has great benefits to pensioners and doesn’t require a lot of technical knowledge. There are lots of people making good use of the Internet, and some who feel ‘it is too complicated for me’, but those fears can be overcome.
The benefits of being able to use the Internet include:

  1. Access to information on practically any topic available when you need it e.g. cultivation of specific plants, family history, crosswords, upcoming films,.. the list is endless
  2. Being able to look up information where you see messages like “for more information see our website www.website.co.uk/information”
  3. Making shopping easier- e.g before the 5 mile trip to B&Q/Homebase etc , check online that they stock the item you are looking for, and maybe compare with prices with competitors e.g. Homebase
  4. Making applications for driving licence renewals, bus passes, library cards without leaving your home.
  5. Applying for benefits is increasingly requiring on-line applications.
  6. Find places to visit, and before you set off , check the opening days and times the place is open.
  7. Making free video calls to relatives and friends using systems such as Skype
  8. A recent think tank said “Internet training would cut pensioner loneliness”,
  9. Do your grocery shopping online and get home delivery.
  10. Make contact with long lost friends through e.g. Friends Reunited, or Facebook
  11. Save on postage by using email instead of posting a letter. Many businesses can be contacted this way.

How can I learn to use a computer?
  1. Courses are available across the country for older people, e.g Age UK have details of many such courses for older people – Call them on 0800 169 6565 FREE or http://www.ageuk.org.uk/work-and-learning/technology-and-internet/computer-training-courses/

  2. Barclays Bank are running a Digital Eagles campaign You can meet them at one of our free Tea & Teach sessions, held in branches across the UK.
  3. check with your local technical college

Independent Political Poll June 2014 – 57% of voters happy to pay more tax to fund NHS

Over half of voters say they would be happy to pay more income tax as long as the money went directly to the NHS, which is facing a £30bn gap in its finances by 2020.

Polling firm ComRes found that 49% of people would be prepared to pay more tax to help fund the health service, one in three (33%) people said they would not be ready to do so, and 18% did not know either way.

However, if only the views of those who expressed an opinion are considered, as many as 60% of people are willing to pay more tax to help the NHS providing its wide range of services; 40% are not.

The public’s willingness to pay extra tax to help the NHS has reached its highest level in over a decade amid growing concern about hospitals slipping into the red, waiting lists lengthening and the service becoming unsustainable.

The 49% and 60% figures are the highest seen for either of the methodologies since the early 2000s, just before Tony Blair’s government kickstarted a sustained campaign of well above inflation NHS budget increases.

Professor Chris Ham, chief executive of the King’s Fund health thinktank, said the increase in people willing to help the NHS financially was likely to be linked to public perceptions that it had started to struggle financially and clinically and because it was so highly valued.

Read the report

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Our comment: What is it going to take to wake politicians up to the public concern about the state of the NHS ? None of the political parties are making any radical proposals for this. The public have reluctantly gone along with the need to reduce public expenditure, but the £2 billion pounds taken out of the NHS budget each year is the root of the present malaise. At the end of the day this is a wealthy country and the public demands an NHS that provides a good service. With an increase in the proportion of elderly people / people living longer to expect to be able to reduce health spending is ridiculous.

Intrepid pensioner uses free bus pass to travel 700 miles on 10-day UK trip

Intrepid grandad Alan Gurr has used his free bus pass to travel more than 700 miles on a 10-day trip the length of England.

Factory worker Alan, 67, first caught a train from Oxfordshire to England’s most northerly town, Berwick-upon-Tweed, in Northumberland.

He then hopped aboard 32 buses before ending up at England’s most southerly bus stop at Land’s End.

Ted & Fred converse on this story

Ted & Fred converse on this story

Some of the towns and cities he visited included: Newcastle, Carlisle, Lancaster, Blackpool, Wigan, Crewe, Kidderminster, Gloucester, Bristol, Taunton, Exeter and Penzance before he caught a train home to Didcot.

He first tried to do the bus journey last year but missed a connection and was forced to take a train.

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74-year-old man is aiming to raise thousands of pounds for charity with his bus pass

A 74-year-old man is aiming to raise thousands of pounds for charity by travelling from Lands End to John O’Groats – and back again – using his bus pass.

Steve Gibbs, who lives in Little Hill, Wigston, will set off on the 2,000-mile fund-raising trip on August 4, hopping on-and-off 66 different buses and one ferry.

The retired engineer is hoping to raise £5,000 for Children in Need during his two week escapade.

Steve said: “I had a dream that I was going by bus from Lands End to John O’Groats and woke up and told my wife. She said I should just go for it, so here I am.”

He will set off the day after his 40th wedding anniversary, leaving from Land’s End, in Cornwall, at 9.41am, catching the 1A First bus to Penzance, and arriving at 10.37am.

Read more: http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Epic-bus-trip-Pudsey-pal/story-21752000-detail/story.html#ixzz38VpxRWqt

Read more at http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/Epic-bus-trip-Pudsey-pal/story-21752000-detail/story.html#srIMaEuJAXSGjh24.99
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Bus pass medical data card designed and trialled in Huntingdonshire – volunteers needed

A bus pass which contains personal medical data and could revolutionise care delivery in the UK is being trialled in the Huntingdon area.

The Cambridgeshire Care Card has been designed by technology guru Christopher Curry, best known for his work as co-founder of Cambridge-based Acorn Computers.

Volunteers are being sought from the Huntingdon area to take part in the pilot scheme which has had funding from the Department of Health.

Bus pass holders can add medical information to the card, such as blood group, medication and allergies, which could help to save lives by alerting medics and health care professionals who can access the information through a card reader.

Local GPs are also being recruited to the card scheme.

Read more: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Huntingdon-St-Ives-St-Neots/Bus-pass-medical-data-card-designed-by-technology-entrepreneur-Christopher-is-trialled-in-Huntingdonshire-20140716142656.htm#ixzz38NB5B3JI

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