Wednesday, 30 November 2011

UNWANTED BROWN ENVELOPES IN THE MAIL

I had a brown envelope in the mail this morning and my heart sank.  Brown envelopes = bad news.  More tax to pay? a parking fine? or even worse, another wretched speeding ticket! But no, this one was unusually good news.  Notification of my £200 winter fuel allowance.  It got me thinking.  I'm in a very fortunate position in asmuchas through sheer hard work and insanity I don't really need this money but I have no way of refusing to accept it.

Recently many high profile people have tried to send this payment back but  there is no mechanism for doing this, which is mad. Admittedly this money can, and I'm sure will, be sent off to good causes, but wouldn't it be better to have the ability of opting out in the spirit of  "ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country".  Maybe the better off could also have the option to opt out of receiving family allowance and the state pension too! 

And wouldn't it be fun if CEO's opted to reduce their massive salary and bonus payouts, or if some of our public servants declared "you know what, I'm not short of a bob or two, I consider that it's my civic duty to do this job for a modest fee", or if Trade Union leaders said "no £100,000 + exenses is too much to take out of the kitty, pay me less", etc. etc. 

Let's start a campaign.  Instead of demanding "what's in it for me" lets ask "what can I do to help?"  One of the key by products of this might be to take personal responsibility for making our leaders more accountable. And wouldn't it be good if pigs could fly? They don't call me polyanna for nothing you know!

19 comments:

SueAnn said...

John F. Kennedy said, " Don't ask what your country can do for you but what can you do for the country"
Hugs
SueAnn

DogLover said...

I remember you as a shapely young teenager in 1968 with your I'M BACKING BRITAIN tee shirt. I fell in love with you there and then.

We need a slogan for your new campaigh - GIVE ME YOUR £200 ?

Sandi McBride said...

I'm laughing here...when we get something in a brown envelope, I'm asking "what, more edible panties, dirty photos of some unknown stranger down the lane, or simply French postcards...hence the "plain brown wrapper" lol, you too have warmed my day
Sandi

ADDY said...

It does make me cross to read that so many people get the Winter Fuel Allowance and it means so little to them, whereas my poor old mum could do with more, as all she has is her state pension. I think the government should reconsider who gets the Winter Fuel Allowance and do it on a means-tested basis instead. Meanwhile, you could always donate yours to a charity, if you feel you don't need it.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that you say you have no way of refusing your winter fuel allowance. I had to fill in a form to receive payment. So if the completed form is not returned the money can't be paid to you.

Retiredandcrazy said...

I think that JFK said some great stuff SueAnn. I particularly like one of his quotes "Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction". His words do you think? Or inspired staffers?

Retiredandcrazy said...

Now I'm going to quote Churchill to DogLover "Keep calm and carry on". You're getting a bit het up there my friend.

And anyway I think that you're mistaking me for another 19 year old cowgirl because I didn't even know you in 1968!

Retiredandcrazy said...

We get our official mail in brown envelopes Sandi. But we do have the other sort too!

Retiredandcrazy said...

Mine will go to charity Addy, I just think it's daft that I can't just opt out of receiving it. It would be so easy to do.

Retiredandcrazy said...

As a senior citizen my winter fuel allowance is paid into my bank automatically "anonymous". I've never had to fill out a form. If I had I would certainly done as you suggest.

ADDY said...

Just like anonymous says, in the September after I reached 60 (ie this last September) I had to fill in a form from the DWP to claim WFA, otherwsie I would not have started to receive it this winter. Are you sure you did not complete a form once you started to get the state pension?

Retiredandcrazy said...

The criteria is "pensioners over 80receive £300 and those aged under 80 receive £200. The payments are not means-tested and are given regardless of wealth".

I'm positive that I didn't have to fill out a form Addy. Maybe it's because I'm still a tax payer? I don't know.

Whatever, my point is that it would be good to have a campaign to highlight the fact that it is sometimes going to people that don't need it and in some cases don't want it and I say let's re-direct these unwanted payments and ringfence them for the good of the genuine needy in this country.

I guess this is just a pipe dream anyway because there is no-one capable of setting this up without it costing £billions!

Do I sound cynical? You're right, I am.

Retiredandcrazy said...

Come to think of it Addy, I'll just continue to do my own thing with it!

ADDY said...

At least if you do your own thing, you can determine where it goes, but I have also seen in newspapers recently that celebrities have been campaigning to pay it into a fund which goes to the poorer pensioners. THe likes of Terry Wogan have been donating their fuel allowance money. See here ..... http://www.fundraising.co.uk/news/2011/11/15/winter-fuel-allowance-donation-scheme-launched-combat-fuel-poverty

Jay at The Depp Effect said...

It is ridiculous, isn't it?

I remember how pleased my Mum was to be getting the allowance, and how chuffed she was at 80 to get a bit more. Such a pity, when so many of our allowances are means tested to the point of spying on people to make sure they're entitled, that there should be no way to refuse this one.

Anonymous said...

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HAVE A GOOD XMAS AND HOLIDAY LUV YA CONTESSA & PEA IN A POD P.S. I USED TO GIVE A GOOD RENDERING OF JULIUS CEASARS "IDES OF MARCH" IN THE "OLD DAYS" LET ME HAVE MEN AROUND ME MEN WHO ARE FAT.YONDER CASSIUS HAS A LEAN AND HUNGRY LOOK." BYE

Retiredandcrazy said...

The weird thing is Addy that the government is now talking about means testing this benefit, have they been reading my blog? I still think that opting out would be much preferable. I do already do my own thing, but it would be more cost effective to divert it at source. Maybe given a range of alternatives it could be re-directed to?

Retiredandcrazy said...

I agree with you Jay. I'm not in favour of means testing.

Retiredandcrazy said...

So lovely to hear from you Contessa and Pea. It has been on my mind to phone you all week. I'll do it today. Love you too xxx