Letter: Universal benefits cuts for OAPs not feasible

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I refer to Heart Warming: Welcome news about child heart unit (Nick Keer 6 June).

I agree that this is very good news and hope that it will stay open permanently. Newcastle and Liverpool are a long way for parents who have to take a sick child, especially if they haven’t access to a car.

I disagree with the rest of his letter for the following reasons:

1. The amount of money the government would save by cutting out universal benefits for pensioners would be minute compared with the overall budget and there would be more cold related illnesses and deaths if the heating allowances were no longer paid, resulting in higher expenses for the NHS. The cold weather payment is only paid to those on pension credit who are no longer the poorest pensioners. It is not a universal benefit.

2. The government does not have a general fund but has individual budgets for each department eg education, health, pensions and transport. The money is not transferable, so if the universal benefits were stopped it would not make any difference to Children’s Heart Surgery in Leeds but cause a great deal of misery and poverty for pensioners who paid into the National Insurance all their working lives.

3. Universal benefits are a part of the pension which is the lowest in Europe. They are much appreciated. Perhaps they should have been added to the pension where they would be taxed. I consider them more important than selling the house to pay for care home fees should I eventually have to go into one.

Nick Keer seems to have a bee in his bonnet about pensions. If he lives long enough he will become one. Perhaps he will change his mind then.

Miss P Johnson, Cross Flatts Grove, Leeds 11

YEP Letters: March 23