Have you ever been for a pint in Northumberland? or Barnsley? or Thurgoland? If like me you have, you've probably been rather surprised at how much change you got back when you handed over a tenner. What has this got to do with Barnet Council. Well Councillor Sachin Rajput tonight announced that £163.75 is a fair living wage for a UK pensioner. This is the Uk wide figure, deemed the UK fair living wage for someone above pensionable age. Mr Rajput announced at the Barnet Cabinet meeting that this would be the basis for all charging calculations with regards to payment for services.
Planet Earth calling Councillor Rajput (and the rest of the Tories). In case you hadn't noticed, Barnet is one of the most expensive places to live on Planet Earth, let alone the UK. Whilst £165.75 might get you a decent lifestyle in the places listed above, it wouldn't get you a decent dinner at some of Councillor Brian Colemans favourite restaurants in Barnet. Barnet Council have decided that everyone should pay for services if they can afford them. Fair enough I hear you say. Is it fair enough if you use the UK average as your basis for calculation, if you live in the 4th most expensive Borough in the Country.
Sadly, it seems that common sense has completely bypassed our councillors. Councillor Rajput announced that 3% of the elderly population required 63% of the budget. This must be wrong, he exclaimed !!! Well think about it for a second. If 3% need constant supervision, 17% need some help and 80% need none at all, then of course 3% will use up 63% of the budget. I remember my own father. He died aged 69 of a heart attack. In his entire life, he never received a penny in benefits, other than an old age pension, which he'd spent a lifetime paying in to. My Mother never claimed a penny either, until she had a stroke aged 75 and needed help to live independently. The difference between an able bodied pensioner and one with age related issues is huge. 64% of Barnet pensioners need no intervention whatsoever. This is a figure Rajput neglected to inform his cabinet colleagues of. Being over 65 doesn't mean you need a care plan. Being infirm does.
What Rajput and the rest of the dim Tories seem to have ignored is that the frailer you get, the more it costs. As they sat there, self righteously pontificating, I was struck by a vision of them all in 20 years time, senile, incontinent and unloved. Who knows when such tragedy strikes. I saw my mother changed from a proud, independent, self reliant woman to a totally dependent wreck, in the course of a few minutes by a stroke. I used to think I'd never wish that on anyone. I hate myself for saying it, but as I watched Lynne Hillan (the woman who moved her mother to a location where the wardens were being retained, just before announcing the warden cuts) pontificating on the issue, I said a silent prayer for some poetic justice.
I simply couldn't believe just how rude Lynne Hillan was to David Young, the man who stopped the destruction of Sheltered housing warden service with a court case. She should have apologised to Mr Young, for ruining his elder years, instead when Mr Young exercised his constitutional right to ask a question and Ms Hillan treated him like an idiot. Even before he started she insulted him "Keep your supplimental question short". According to the timetable, 1/2 and hour was allocated for public questions. There were four questions and they took 14 minutes in total. Hillan thought this too long and refused to answer Mr Silverman or Mr Young in any proper manner.
There is one question I have for Lynne Hillan. How can you look in the mirror on the day you sold out the pensioners of Barnet.