When news happens text pix and video to 80360. Start your message with BE then leave a space.
Benefits cuts for rich Dorset pensioners supported
ENCOURAGING well-off over 65s to give up their benefits to help government budget cuts has been welcomed by Dorset pensioners – in the county’s retirement capital The idea was mooted this week by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg who suggested one way to ease future budget woes would be to stop giving universal benefits such as winter fuel allowance, free bus passes and free TV licences to affluent pensioners. He said multi-millionaires like Lord Alan Sugar should give up these benefits to help those who are less lucky than them make ends meet.
In Highcliffe, Christchurch, which is home to more over 65s than any other part of the country, pensioners were happy with the suggestion of a voluntary system. John O’Sullivan, 59, retired from Mudeford , said: “Those that are earning over a certain amount, £1 million or over, they should be encouraged not to take those benefits.
“I think if they made the system for giving up benefits easier than it is it would encourage more people to do so. For the big owners giving up these benefits is peanuts.
“I know a couple of people who don’t take them because they acknowledge they don’t need the money.”
Dorothy Frank, 85, of Highcliffe, said: “If you could get the big earners to do that it would be helpful. They have got so much anyway that many of them don’t even realise whether they have been receiving it or not.
“Means testing it might be difficult because while some people might be living in a big property in a nice area, they might not have the income to match it.
“My main concern would be the amount of money it would cost to administer such a system.”
Averil Jenkyn, 75, of Highcliffe, believes people should be encouraged to give up their benefits voluntarily.
“There are many people out there, me included, who would not notice if the payments were to be stopped.
“Having said that I know a lot of people who said they would not accept the benefits when they first started but now they wouldn’t be happy to give them up because they have got used to receiving them.”
Andrew Bumford, 62, semi-retired living in Highcliffe, said: “I am quite well off and I am over 60 but I think I have worked really hard for the last 40 years and paid a lot of money into the system, so why shouldn’t I get it?
“I think an opt-out option would be a good system to put in place.”
Brian Harrison, 75, living in Mudeford, said: “I think they should restrict the payments for the very well off, it is a reasonable idea.”
And David Morton, 74, visiting Highcliffe, said: “It’s a good idea. I think people should be encouraged to give up these benefits if their income is over a certain amount.”