The British Geriatrics Society has today issued a strongly-worded statement in response to recent comments from the Taxpayers Alliance regarding financial support for older people.
Speaking on behalf of the BGS, the Society’s President Professor David Oliver said:
“Calls for the ending of the winter fuel allowance, bus pass and TV licence as benefits for pensioners are short-sighted and misguided.
Far from being a waste of tax payers’ money, these measures are public health investments in the wellbeing of older people; they are exactly the kinds of public health support that is required if the aims of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View are to be met.
In calling for the ending of these supports to older people, the Taxpayers Alliance is out of step with political and health sector leaders and strategists who, in one fringe event after another at the Conservative Party Conference, have highlighted the need to keep people well for longer, to avoid the onset of preventable illness and to encourage social and community connectedness.
The winter fuel allowance is a practical response to the danger of excess winter mortality among older people, helping them to heat their homes and avoid unnecessary admissions to hospital with respiratory and other illnesses.
The bus pass assists older people to get out of the house, meet friends and family, participate in social activities and continue contributing to community life. The TV licence is a valuable support, in particular to people on low income and living alone.
The British Geriatrics Society calls on political and heath sector figures to reject the misguided and destructive policies lobbied for by the Taxpayers Alliance, and instead ensure that older people receive the support they need.”