Spending review: A close shave for pensioners and a torpedo from Brown

Posted on: 22 October 2010 by Gareth Hargreaves

George Osborne spared us the worst of the pain in the spending review but a nasty surprise was left behind by Gordon Brown et al.

I’ve now had time to digest all the changes in George Osborne’s review and I must admit most pensioners got off lightly. The TV license concession stayed in place as did the winter fuel allowance – both of these were rumoured to be for the chop. The one I thought would be means tested was the Freedom Pass travel concession. This costs local and central government about £1200 per person – quite a lump of cash when you consider that 10million people are entitled to apply for it. If they all took it it would cost the taxpayer over £12 billion. But of course not everyone applies – if they did the buses would be very, very busy. All in all older people came off light in the review.

Of course, the massive cuts in local government funding are still going to hit the very old and vulnerable as councils will be forced to cut services. We are all going to see prices go up for libraries, swimming pools, sports facilities and anything that is not a ‘core’ service for councils.

So if you have some free time and would like to be really useful in your local community track down a local care giving charity and offer some of your time to help them. As the cuts bite more and more councils will look to these organizations to take up the work they can no longer fund.

Middle class families are going to be badly hit – so McDonalds’ sales will take a knock, though maybe that’s a plus not a minus! Big tax payers will pay through the nose but of course it won’t make any difference to their lifestyles – they may have to put off the new Lexus 4x4 for the ‘little lady’. Still with the problems that Toyota are having making their cars work properly this may also be a blessing in disguise.

One thing that emerged after the investigative journalists got to work on the details behind the changes relates to another of Gordon Brown’s financial IEDs - deftly hidden to cause maximum impact on the new government! When Brown  agreed to buy two new aircraft carriers from BAE Systems, he signed a contract so tight that if the government subsequently cancelled the order the taxpayer would have to pay the ship workers for the next 12 years – this was the previous PMs way of cutting unemployment! Nice one, Gordon – don’t call us (or you Ed!) we’ll call you!

So the deed is done and now we all wait to see the long term effect. There will be hiccups but in the long run it will work out. As I've said often over the past months – keep your heads down, keep active and healthy, hold on to cash, buy bargains ... and pray!

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