Basic state pension is national disgrace

Do you agree that the British state pension is a 'disgrace'?
Do you agree that the British state pension is a 'disgrace'?
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So, the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has promised us all a whopping new state pension some time in 2015, a policy statement which pre-supposes that the coalition or Tories will still be in power.

The truth is that the basic state pension in this country is a joke, particularly when the pensioners who live on it currently pick up the second lowest pension in the European Union.

The current basic state pension in this country is equivalent to 17 per cent of the average wage, and although this rises to 30 per cent once payments related to earnings are taken into account, the figure is still only half of the European Union average of 60 per cent.

In the fourth richest economy in the world, such figures are a national disgrace, a stain on those who profess to care for old people, many of whom shiver on the edge of penury having to make the choice between heating or eating.

The figures are brought into stark perspective when Luxembourg pays 88.3 per cent of the average wage as a state pension.

Holland pays 81.9 per cent and Denmark 79.8 per cent, way above the European Union average.

The problem in this country has always been made worse, given that the state pension has, for years, failed to keep pace with the increases in the cost of essentials such as heating, water and the price of food.

I wonder how much longer we will have to wait to get a Government that stops promising pensioners some jam

Jam that never seems to materialise, and always years down the line.

D S Lockhart


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Rivals helped to save our club

As an ardent supporter of Kettering Town Football Club for over 75 years I thought I would never have reason to say this: “Thank you to the management, directors and supporters of Corby Town in helping to save Kettering Town from ceasing to exist and allowing our club with a 140-year history to share your stadium with you.”

What a wonderful gesture on their part because, over the decades, the local rivalry has been rather fierce on many match days. I hope that all loyal supporters of the Poppies will join me in wishing both football clubs every success in the future and in trying to keep the football clubs afloat.

It has been very hard to be a Kettering Town supporter as one bad situation is followed by another, without any periods of calm and consolidation.

The real fans know who is to blame for our predicament.

Unfortunately, for the past 10 years or so I have been unable to attend matches because of health problems, but it has not stopped me following the club in spirit.

At least I have a bucket full of memories going back to the late 30s and early 40s when the ground had a notorious slope.

A huge thank you must go to Ritchie Jeune and his band of volunteers for all he is trying to achieve behind the scenes to make a future for the Poppies and for outlining his intended future for the club.

Richard Burton


Concerned by the plans for new law

Support for children and young people who have special educational needs or who are disabled can make a huge difference to their lives and those of their families.

The Government plans to make changes to this vital support but hasn’t fully recognised the needs of children and young people with sight loss and the kind of support they need.

The Children and Families Bill is being discussed by MPs now.

I am sure I won’t be alone in being very worried about the impact these changes will have on children with a visual impairment in our area who rely on the support of local services.

I want to let other readers know that they can take action to help make sure that the right support is provided to those who need it.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People is keen to hear from anyone who may be affected or is interested in finding out more about the proposed changes and how they can help to make sure the Government gets this right.

Get involved and voice your concerns by contacting or the RNIB campaign hotline on 020 7391 2123.

John Welsh


Councillors need thinking time

Like all other towns, one expects expansion.

Councils seem to pass anything today, so I wonder whether any councillors have any thoughts regarding doctors, dentists, schools and parking in Raunds.

There are numerous houses being built and hundreds are planned.

Yet I want an appointment with my doctor and have to wait nine days, so come councillors, do some thinking.

Philip Cuthbert


Skill of drivers has cut claims

I think the success claimed by the county council in dealing with potholes is premature.

It is more the skill of local drivers in missing them that has resulted in the drop in insurance claims.

C Newton


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Euro MP backs shops scheme

I wish to give the “Yes2Rushden
Lakes” pressure group my full support.

I live in Northampton, so whether or not Rushden needs such a new development is not exactly my business.

But, the people there obviously want it so they should have it.

As an MEP for Northamptonshire I always try to support any sensible and worthwhile scheme which local people want.

So as far as I’m concerned it’s Yes2RushdenLakes.

Why Northampton Council should oppose this scheme is beyond me – it’s got nothing to do with the town of Northampton. I suppose the council here is opposing it because it will take trade away from Northampton town. Tough.

If that is indeed the case they will have to ask themselves why people should drive all the way to Rushden to shop and enjoy the facilities there as opposed to shopping in Northampton.

It’s about time Northampton Borough Council put its own shopping house in order and attracted people from a wider area.

In short, the Northampton council’s opposition speaks volumes for its own failure.

Derek Clark

UKIP MEP for Northamptonshire

Chance to meet the politicians

Leonard Cheshire Disability is offering three disabled people the chance to meet politicians at the annual Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Labour Party conferences this autumn.

Disabled people from across the UK who have a passion for politics have until May 3 to apply for our Access All Areas scheme, which we launched to ensure politicians hear directly from people with disabilities about the issues that matter to them.

We will support the three people throughout, and will pay for their conference passes, accommodation and travel costs, as well as those of a carer if needed.

We particularly welcome applications from disabled people who have experiences of social care they wish to share.

To download a form or to find out more go to or call 020 3242 0373.

Emma Lindsay

National Campaigns Manager Leonard Cheshire Disability

No right to attack Andy Sawford

Cllrs David Sims, Rob McKellar, Stan Heggs and Ray Lilley call themselves “New Team Corby Conservatives”.

Well, there wasn’t much new about the content of their letter as they took a swipe at the Liberal Democrats on Corby Borough Council. I suppose that we have to accept that it was a slight variation from the norm as it is usually the ruling Labour group that gets it in the neck from them.

However, if these four gentlemen wish to do something reallty new, I suggest that publicly apologise to Andy Sawford for unjustifiably criticising him for going to Rotherham and supporting the Labour Party candidate at the 2012 by-election.

If these councillors had no problem with David Cameron visiting Eastleigh to support the Conservative candidate at the by-election there, they had no right to condemn Mr Sawford for his actions either.

John Clark


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Hopeful that the area will improve

My mother has lived in Centre Parade in Kettering for a very long time and a Neighbourhood Watch group has now been set up to cover the area.

This pleased our family very much as sadly the street has been the location of some intimidation and harassment in the past.

My family and I would like to thank the co-ordinator of the Neighbourhood Watch for setting up in mum’s area. She feels safer now, and may Centre Parade return to the nice quiet area it once was.

Mrs Sharp


Shameful actions of the authorities

My father is sadly now having to live near, and put up with, families and individuals who have anti-social personality disorder, known to many as neighbours from hell.

They seem to display low intelligence, low self-esteem and lack of respect for others in the street and the authorities.

My father is in his 70s. Why should anyone of that age have to put up with these people? Shame on the authorities who put these people in our streets.

M Thompson


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