‘We worked hard for our homes’

The Galloway News - - GALLOWAY VIEW -

Sir – The Scot­tish Labour leader, Richard Leonard, has called for tax­a­tion on wealth while the left wing think tank, the In­sti­tute for Pub­lic Pol­icy Re­search, has pro­posed the re­place­ment of coun­cil tax with a tax on prop­erty val­ues.

Both these pro­pos­als would dis­pro­por­tion­ately hit pen­sion­ers.

The Labour Party needs to un­der­stand that pen­sion­ers have not ac­cu­mu­lated masses of dis­pos­able wealth. They are liv­ing in their fam­ily homes which they worked hard for over the years.

Many pen­sion­ers bought their homes in the 1990s to make pro­vi­sion for their re­tire­ment.

The fact that those homes have risen in value is not the fault of the pen­sion­ers them­selves but of suc­ces­sive Labour and Tory gov­ern­ments which have failed to build enough af­ford­able houses.

The last Labour ad­min­is­tra­tion in Scot­land built a mere six coun­cil houses. It is this fail­ure of the main­stream par­ties which has forced up the value of homes.

There is a mis­taken as­sump­tion that pen­sion­ers own­ing their homes is in­dica­tive of wealth, when in fact it is more likely to be the case that these pen­sion­ers have lit­tle or no dis­pos­able in­come. In­deed many are al­ready re­liant on fam­ily mem­bers to give sup­port which would nor­mally be given by the state eg per­sonal care; as­sis­tance with trans­port: prepa­ra­tion of meals; home clean­ing etc.

There are large num­bers of pen­sion­ers who do not wish to be seen to be re­liant on char­ity. So to at­tack them in their homes is an af­front to their hard work over many years and the huge amount of un­paid sup­port given by fam­ily mem­bers.

The so-called wealth tied up in fam­ily homes is not dis­pos­able in­come. If any­thing pen­sion­ers strug­gle to main­tain their homes in the face of ris­i­ble in­ter­est rates on their sav­ings and the low­est pen­sions in the de­vel­oped world.

We worked hard for our homes. They are filled with mem­o­ries of fam­i­lies we raised and saw take flight. In too many cases they are mem­o­ries of beloved part­ners no longer with us.

We call upon Richard Leonard and his Labour Party to leave us our mem­o­ries and leave us our homes.

Ian Rich­mond Dum­fries and Gal­loway Pen­sion­ers for In­de­pen­dence

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