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banner Monday, 8 April, 2002, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
Len Barks, pensioner
Len Barks, pensioner
Watch video verdict

Len Barks is 68 and lives in a residential home at Great Crosby, on the outskirts of Liverpool.

In addition to his state pension, he qualifies for income support, and receives a disability allowance because he has restricted movement in one leg.

He also receives 33 a week from an occupational pension, but complains that this additional income is taxed.

He says he has around 16 personal spending money.


My budget verdict

posted by Len | 1800 BST | Send your comments

On tax and benefits I'm happy that I'll receive an extra 3 per week in my state pension but unhappy that it will still be taken off my income support.

I have no real complaints about the NHS. I have benefitted from the existing system and am glad that extra money is going towards it.

A 1% increase in national insurance contributions will make a real difference to the survival of the NHS.

I feel that local reports and the annual independent financial audit can only be good for the health service as a means of checking where the money goes but how much will it cost to implement?

Overall, I'm not happy with the Budget as any extra allowances are taken off my Income Support.

I also feel that it's wrong that I have worked hard all my life yet have to pay for the bulk of my residential care. This should be covered by the NHS.

If England had a similar system to that found in Scotland where the state pays for residential care then that would free up more of my pension to enjoy an improved quality of life and allow me to socialise which I can't afford to do at the moment.

Why should my social life stop because I live in a residential care home? I shouldn't just have to rely on my computer and TV for company.

Also it's hard to give a full opinion as the Chancellor didn't reveal full details about reforms to the NHS, social services and pensions.


Public services spending
posted by Len | 1635 BST | Send your comments

I'm happy with proposals to increase spending on NHS and social services but can't comment fully as full details of reforms won't be revealed until tomorrow.

I'm like an occassional drink so I'm happy with the freeze on beer and wine duty.


Pension credits
posted by Len | 1614 BST | Send your comments

I don't think I'll benefit from the proposed pension changes.

I think any improved allowances will be taken off my Income Support. That's very disappointing.


More help for the elderly
posted by Len | 1530 BST | Send your comments

I'd like to see a higher weekly allowance and tax relief on occupational pensions.

I think more government money should go towards care homes and I'm concerned about the rumoured VAT increases.

I would be happy to see more money come out of National Insurance to pay for improved health services.


Your comments


It seems grossly unfair

Pat Taylor, England
Like Len, I find the overall Budget proposals fine. My problem is that I was disabled as a result of an accident in my late fifties. Having a mortgage resulted in my being given Income Support as well as Disability Living Allowance and Industrial Injury Benefit. The Industrial Benefit, and my small company pension (which I paid for) of 22 per week are taken off my "allowances". Other pensioners on a small company pension and with good savings are not penalised, and it seems grossly unfair to take my little bit away.
Pat Taylor, England

Once again the Chancellor has done nothing for the pensioner who has a small private pension, taking them outside the threshold for help with council tax etc which other less thrifty pensioners are able to get.
Dave Rowell, England

I would like to support Diana Clay's comment on applying the cost of living increase to pensioners living abroad. I have paid into the system like anyone else for all of my working life and will soon retire. My dedication to "buying British" has helped UK businesses in various parts of the world. If this is an example of what Britain thinks of me and many others like me, perhaps I should promote German industry. N.B. I intend to retire to Spain!
John Jackson, United Arab Emirates

I'd like to see pensioners who move abroad have cost of living increases added to their pension - it's only justice.
Diana Clay, Nthn. Ireland

Tell Len that the Pensioners Credit will not affect his Income Support (now known as the Minimum Income Guarantee). He should benefit from the changes without losing the money elsewhere.
Nigel Gair, England


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