AN army of angry OAPs has blasted Renfrewshire Council’s decision to scrap their popular Senior Citizen Voucher Scheme.
But some young and elderly agreed it was the way to go.
We told how council officials claim that by dumping the scheme – which costs some £300,000 a year to run – they will be able to spend the cash on getting elderly patients out of hospitals and into care homes.
For many years, cash-strapped pensioners over the age of 70 have used their £22 to help with heating bills, council tax, rent or buying food.
Others opted to go on an optional day trip.
Our story provoked a healthy response with many Buddies angry at the council’s plans, while others reckoned the money would be better spent elsewhere.
One Buddie, calling himself Scepticus, said: “This is bad timing by the SNP and LibDems.
“With an election in the offing, they are acknowledging that the New Labour UK government is giving OAPs such a fair deal that the local council can dispense with this handout!
“Pensioner Betty McIntosh was all for the council’s decision to axe the scheme. Is she from the Renfrew Elderly Forum? We should be told.
“This would be more credible if councillors would forego some of their entitlements in the name of ‘necessary cutbacks.’”
Maisie Bell, 72, said: “I looked forward to my wee day out. It’s the only one I have every year. It’s great to get on that bus, be taken somewhere nice and enjoy my tea and some good company.
“I live alone, don’t have any family and really looked forward to the trip. It’s a shame it has to go.”
George Farmer, 73, of Paisley added: “Here we go again. I used the money – all £22 of it – for heating.
“It’s not a lot but when you don’t have a lot it is a Godsend.
“I know money is tight but not tighter than some of us have to cope with.”
And Tam Connolly, 82, said: “I’m disappointed it’s being taken away from us. We loved the day out but what can you do. How would we have found out? Are they going to write to every one of us?”
Another 69-year-old Buddie, who asked not to be named, blasted: “I think OAPs get enough as it is and most of them are doing okay.
”I got a £50 payment into my bank account to help with heating during the cold spell, and we get another £250 from the government.
“Yet you can go into pensioners’ houses and it’s freezing because they’re saving the money to treat grandchildren or to go on holiday.”
Eric Macdonald, who is 67, added: “I read the article that the local council have reluctantly had to abandon the scheme due to financial constraints.
“I think in these trying times for the council, the money should be directed where need is greatest.
“In times of plenty, it’s a great idea for the over-70s but I’m sure most folk would agree with the decision.”
A frustrated high school pupil emailed to say: “I know first hand that it was schools who suffered first and who are still suffering due to cutbacks.
“We are in need of paper, jotters, pens, up-to-date books and so much more, so naturally I was annoyed when I read that they were complaining because they might not get a trip ‘Doon the Watter’ or the alternative £22.
“Further on in the article Mr Bill Martin of the Renfrewshire Senior Forum states that ‘They are the one group of people who cannot afford to take this hit’ and continues, ‘They live on a fixed income, when prices rise, they struggle.’
“Can I point out that we are in the middle of a recession and nobody can afford to take a hit – but we all have to. Ask those who oppose this where they want the extra money to come from? It cannot be taken from schools because the majority are hanging on by a thread. They can’t raise taxes or everyone else will suffer.
“When I reach retirement age I won’t have a thing so please stop complaining and enjoy what you have while you have it.
“And stop using your age to blackmail the government. We all have to make sacrifices.”