Pensioner knits tank top sweaters for group of hens

Not only have these hens been saved from the dinner plate this Easter, they have also been given snazzy jumpers to wear.

The birds were moved to Armstrong House sheltered housing complex in Northumberland to keep the elderly residents company.

One of the pensioners loved them so much she decided to knit them colourful sweaters.

Knitting tank tops for chickens

Knitting tank tops for chickens


‘We have been so pleased to take them in,’ said the aptly named Joan Bird, who made the tank top jumpers.

Read more

England Physical Disability cricket squad just miss out

England’s Physical Disability squad

England’s Physical Disability squad


BROMSGROVE cricketer Sam Wyles couldn’t inspire his country to victory in Dubai last month – but he knows they should have returned to England with some silverware.

England’s Physical Disability squad embarked on their second ever international tour as they once again took on Pakistan in T20 and ODI series’ in the UAE.

After winning just one game on their maiden trip in February 2012, England slipped to narrow 2-1 defeats in each series but Wyles believes they were the better side.
The experienced Pakistan outfit were able to grind out the results after England pulled it back to 1-1 in each but Wyles insists, with six first-time tourists in the squad, there’s plenty to be excited about.

“Obviously the results didn’t go our way but everyone stuck together,” said the 24-year-old, who plays his club cricket for Wythall.

“I think it was very similar to last time. Last time we got ourselves into good positions and lost the crucial moments and it was the same this time.

“We probably won 60 or 70 per cent of the games but let ourselves down at crucial times. It is just about keeping our heads and composure when the tough part of the game starts.
Read more

South Yorkshire ‘Freedom Riders’ refuse to pay fares in protest at concessionary benefits cuts

Defiant protestors angered by cuts to concessionary transport in South Yorkshire will rally in Sheffield for the third time in a month today.

More than 100 pensioners and disabled people, rallied by Barnsley Retirees Action Group (BRAG), are expected to refuse to pay rail fares before a mass gathering at Sheffield Railway Station in protest to cuts made by South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE).

In January the body announced that free bus services in Sheffield and Rotherham would be axed, and the concessionary fare scheme for older people and the disabled scaled back as SYPTE and South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority aimed to cut ten per cent from their annual budgets.

Under the plan, which came into effect on April 1, concessionary travel schemes were scaled back so that free weekday travel on buses and trams was only available between 9.30am and 11pm, and locally-funded concessionary rail travel was scrapped. Both schemes would save £629,000 over 2014/15.

The first ‘Freedom Ride’ took place on March 31, and saw more than 100 people board a train in Barnsley to travel to Meadowhall shopping centre, where they met others who had done the same from Sheffield and Doncaster.
Read more

Thousands use free passes for buses & trains issued to improve air quality

Utah transportation officials say thousands participated in a program that offered free bus and train passes to people willing to leave their cars at home to improve air quality.

The Utah Transit Authority said this week they handed out 7,000 weekly passes, worth $50 each, from Feb. 17 to April 7. They were used for 28,500 bus and train boardings.

The program’s goal was to encourage people to use public transit rather than cars during winter months when the air in the Salt Lake City air becomes some of the worst in the country.
Read more

Gloucestershire County vote to bring forward start time for bus pass holders

PLANS are being drawn to up to review the restrictions currently imposed on the way older and disabled people travel on buses around Gloucestershire.

Following a meeting at the end of last month, members of Gloucestershire County Council voted unanimously in favour of looking at removing the 9.30am start time for bus pass holders.

Currently elderly people, or those living with a physical or learning disability, have to wait until after 9.30am before being able to travel on buses for free.

This rule was introduced by central government, which sets the budget for concessionary travel, in 2006.

Members agreed to look at ways of reviewing the rule after learning of the difficulties many older people faced when travelling to early morning medical appointments.

Lesley Williams, leader of the Labour party on GCC, said: “The 9.30am rule does cause older people and people with disabilities considerable inconvenience. I am delighted we are now going to look at this issue and explore ways to improve the present situation.”

Read more

Our comment: A welcome move when some local authorities are moving in the opposite direction with start times.

‘Anti-elderly’ drug proposals rejected by Nice

Health experts reject proposals reportedly being considered by the government to assess a patient’s benefit to society when deciding to pay for new drugs.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has dismissed plans by ministers that could see patients who are seen to contribute more to the economy being given priority, the Times has reported.

Sir Andrew Dillon, head of Nice, told the newspaper that this would leave the old at risk as younger patients would be given priority for treatment as they could give more back.

Under proposals reportedly being considered by the government, drugs that help older people live longer could be seen as having a “negative” value for society as elderly patients take more than they can give back.

The Department of Health has reportedly instructed Nice to look at how it assesses cost-effectiveness of medication, taking into account the benefits successful treatments could have for the economy – such as allowing people to return to work.

A Nice assessment of the plans found that this would “inevitably take age into account to some degree”.

Read more

Our comment: ‘Nice’ to know that pensioners lifetime of tax payment will not be ignored when health care is concerned – strange that no one will admit to suggesting otherwise.

Cameron: Pensioners who splurge pots will fund own long-term care (from where exactly ?)

Retirees who withdraw their pension pots in one lump sum could end up paying for their own long-term care, Prime Minister David Cameron has suggested.

During a speech in Brighton earlier this week, Cameron eased concerns that retirees would spend all their savings under looser drawdown rules announced in the Budget (PP Online, 19 March) and still fall back on the state for long-term care costs.

He said: “It’s deeply condescending to say to people who’ve worked hard, who’ve saved all their lives, who’ve been thinking about the future, ‘you can’t trust them to spend their own money because they’re irresponsible people’.

“They’re not irresponsible people; they’re responsible people. That’s why they saved in the first place.”

The Prime Minister went on to explain that the single tier pension of £140 per week will end means testing, and that the government cap individuals’ long-term care costs at £75,000 (PP Online, 4 July 2011).

He added: “It is lifting people out of the means test, so even if they do go and spend lots of money on certain things, they’re not going to be reliant on a means-tested system.
Read more:

Our comment: a distorted logic here I think, if some people do blow their pension pot (and the experience in Australia suggests that some will, and which seems almost inevitable to us) what will they then pay for their long term care with ?

Government should give an incentive not to blow pension pots by following the Australian system of no tax on pension income

No one can deny that some people with the new freedom to spend their pension pot on retirement will do just that, and surely there will be a cost to the government when that happens.

But one option would be to follow the Australian taxation system where income from invested superannuation benefits are not taxed at all.

Now that could be a vote winner !

Read more

If people blow their pension pots and end up living on dog food thats there lookout – Boris Johnson

  • Around 13million are to have right to spend private pension how they want

  • Effectively ends the scandal of paltry pension payouts or annuities
  • Anyone turning 55 will be able to dip in to their pension and take income
  • Lib Dem Steve Webb is ‘relaxed’ about people buying Lamborghinis
  • Back by Boris Johnson to allow people to spend money how they want
  • Read more:

    Wealthy pensioners to keep bus passes and winter fuel payments under Tory government, David Cameron hints

    Wealthy pensioners are likely to keep their benefits such as free bus passes, winter fuel allowance and cold weather payments should the Conservatives win the 2015 general election, after David Cameron said cutting them from top-rate taxpayers would only save a ‘tiny’ amount.

    Speaking to Saga members in Peacehaven, near Brighton, East Sussex, Mr Cameron also outlined plans to increase the threshold for inheritance tax, saying only the rich should pay it.

    He told the audience: “We will set our policy for the next Parliament at the next election. I don’t want to pre-judge that. But the only thing I would say is that people think you save lots of money by not giving these benefits to upper-rate, top-rate taxpayers.

    “You save a tiny amount of money and you always introduce another complexity into the system. We made our promises for this Parliament, we kept our promises, I’m proud of that.”

    Mr Cameron also suggested he would propose in the next manifesto to raise the inheritance tax threshold, saying it should only be paid by the rich.

    Passing money down to their families helped contribute towards “a stronger society” and people should not be hit by inheritance tax where they have worked hard and saved.

    Read more: http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Wealthy-pensioners-bus-passes-winter-fuel/story-20845720-detail/story.html#ixzz2x5VyXeD0

    How will Budget benefit older people? – Age Concern give their view

    The latest budget from George Osborne could be good news for older motorists and bingo players alike, experts suggest.

    Chancellor George Osborne has already suggested he is not prepared to stray from the Government’s austerity plan and use the Budget to fund major handouts that could hamper the UK’s long-term economic recovery.

    He hinted that such a move will leave scope for more generous pre-election offerings in 2015.
    Freeze on petrol tax predicted

    Experts predict that Mr Osborne will continue the freeze on petrol tax, while The Sun reported that duty on bingo halls will be reduced from 20% to 15%.

    He has also been under pressure to avoid raising duty on wine and spirits – after ending the duty escalator on beer in 2013.

    There will definitely be some nostalgia in the Budget for older people who remember the old thruppenny. These were worth 1.25 pence and went out of use in 1971 with the introduction of decimalisation.

    Mr Osborne said he will replace the current pound coin with a thruppenny bit-style design to combat an increase in the amount of fakes in circulation – thought to be 45 million.

    On Wednesday, he posted on Twitter along with a picture of the new design: ‘Today I will deliver a Budget for a resilient economy – starting with a resilient pound coin.’

    But, overall, the Budget appears likely to bring little change.
    Read more

    East Sussex change to 9.30am bus pass start time

    Bus pass holders will now have to pay before 9.30am after East Sussex County Council decided to put back the start of free travel by half an hour.

    The changes, which come into effect on April 1, have been introduced to try and reduce the county council’s spending on transport. The 2014/2015 budget has been set at £10.9 million.

    However, County Hall was quick to point out the 9.30am start time is in line with much of the country and that holders will still be able to benefit from free travel until as late as 11pm.

    But anyone who loses their concessionary bus pass will now have to stump up £10 to get a replacement.

    The decision to change the start time of the free bus pass was made by the county council’s cabinet following consultation with bus users, which attracted more than 2,600 responses.

    Councillor Carl Maynard, lead member for transport and environment, said, “The council needs to make savings of about £110 million over the ten years up to 2020. To achieve these savings we need to look at all the services we provide.

    “Unfortunately we don’t have an unlimited budget and one saving identified was to push the start time of the free bus pass back by half an hour.

    “Many of the people who responded to our consultation on this were more concerned that the bus services were still available to them rather than that free travel started half an hour later and they would be prepared to make a contribution towards the fares.”
    Read more

    Hartlepool Man raises £1500 for 11 month old baby with aggressive epilepsy using bus pass

    A FORMER chimney sweep is back home after making his way from the southern-most to the northern-most part of the country – using nothing but his bus pass.

    Bob Waite got dropped off at Land’s End, in Cornwall, last Friday, and the next day began a mammoth 550-mile bus trip to Berwick, in Northumberland.

    He was sponsored for the unusual trip, and estimates to have raised about £1,500 for 11-month-old Oliver Osborn, who suffers from aggressive epilepsy.

    Dad-of-two Bob, who lives in Blackhall with wife Denise, said: “Getting home was the most phenomenal feeling.”

    The 63-year-old made it to Berwick at 3pm on Thursday after a week that saw him catch about 42 buses and meet some generous characters along the way.

    His route covered towns including Taunton, Tewkesbury, Stratford-upon-Avon, Leicester, Nottingham, Chesterfield, Wakefield and Leeds.

    With just six minutes to spare, he caught a connecting bus to Scarborough, and then Middlesbrough, Stockton, Newcastle and Berwick.

    Bob said he met some really helpful people who advised him of the best directions, and also thanked a group of drinkers he met in Tiverton, Devon, who pledged £25.
    Read more

    Withdrawal of bus pass use on Blackpool trams protest

    Pensioners who will be hit in the pocket when free tram travel is scrapped next month say they don’t mind paying – but cannot afford the full fare.

    From April 1, concessionary travel card holders living outside Blackpool will have to pay full fare on the trams.

    Blackpool Council has said it can no longer afford to subsidise travel for all NowCard holders and claimed the move will save £700,000.

    But senior citizens in Wyre say they now face paying more than they can afford or have to use an inadequate bus service.

    Arthur Butler, 79, of Cleveleys, said: “For them to take the free pass off, just like that, is disgraceful.

    “If a couple wanted to go to Blackpool, it will now cost them £9.20, there and back. That’s a lot of money for pensioners.”

    Sheila Wright, 65, of Northfleet Avenue, Fleetwood, has arthritis and a lung condition, and needs a wheeled walker to get around.

    She said: “I have to travel to Cleveleys once a week to pay the rent. I can’t go on a bus because getting on it is hard, and it hurts me when it jolts over the bumps. I will just have to pay the tram fare.
    Read more

    Proposal to allow earlier use of bus pass in Gloucestershire ‘could cost millions’

    A bid to make concessionary bus travel “fairer” by allowing people to travel for free before 9.30am could only be funded by taking money away from other services.

    That’s the message from the leader of Gloucestershire County Council Mark Hawthorne after the authority agreed to review the way bus passes for the elderly and disabled work.

    At the moment concessionary bus travel allows pensioners and the disabled to free travel on the county’s buses during off-peak times – any when after 9.30am in the morning.

    But many people believe the 9.30am rule is unfair because it forces vulnerable people to pay for their journey if they need to get anywhere during the morning rush hour.

    The county’s Labour group has secured a commitment from the county council to look at the possibility of changing the rule to allow for travel from 8.30am onwards.

    But the Conservative administration warned any such move would have significant financial implications, possibly “running into millions of pounds”.

    Read more: http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/Concessionary-bus-pass-review-agreed-bid-allow/story-20832462-detail/story.html#ixzz2wcL7Tl7L

    Read more