‘We worked hard for our homes’
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