I woke up this morning before 6am, not just because Maggie wanted to go out, but because I was chilled.
Getting the DWP letter last week was a blow, but it’s not the end of the world for us, and we will not be faced with the option of heat or eat.
When I was a child, we didn’t have central heating or double glazing in the council house where I was born, just an open fire in the lounge and our hot water was on the immersion. Us kids had loads of blankets and a little electric fire in our room, though in hindsight, I can’t remember if Mum and Dad had one as well. Thinking about it, it’s doubtful. I still wonder at how they managed as we never went without the important things like good shoes, a thick winter coat, hot meals every day, clean clothes and of course, love.
I appreciate love doesn’t pay the bills and can only keep you warm to a certain extent, but I found it interesting the figures Hubby found on the government website as regards household incomes and fuel poverty.
Even had we stayed on the higher PIP rate, that would not have moved us out of the severe poverty bracket we have discovered ourselves to be in. I find it amusing in a warped sort of way as poverty to me all those years ago meant starving dirty urchins in threadbare tatters, such was the vision imposed by the likes of Oliver Twist and The Prince and the Pauper.
In today’s society and the modern world, poverty such as this shouldn’t exist, but I’m not naive enough or ignorant of the fact that it does.
To be eligible for assistance with heating costs, your bill should equate to 10% or more of
your disposable income. NB: This post was written in February 2016.
Even that calculation seems to vary from site to site, so as Hubby and I don’t pay income tax (another laughable effort by the boasting Tories when putting the tax thresholds up which doesn’t help people like us anyway), basically our income would, I suppose, all be classed as disposable.
We pride ourselves in not owing a penny to a soul and are fortunate in not having rent or a mortgage to pay. We paid off the latter following redundancy in 2001 and later cashing in our endowment policy which the company had stripped of its accumulated profits to pay out against policies about to mature when the Financial Crunch hit in the mid Noughties. Sadly any killing we made selling our house in 2007 was lost in our next property (which was the cottage) as we lost not only the £30K investment on improvements but a further £25K when house prices dropped.
It seems that no matter what we do to try and improve our standard of living and comfort in our twilight years, some outside influence scuppers our methods. Just as well then that living frugally without excessive luxuries became a way of life for us even before we’d bought the boat.
Hubby and I have worked out the figures should there only be one of us living on a State Pension (so God willing way after 2022 when mine should materialise). Even then the survivor would not be considered in fuel poverty because of the way we live.
However, with fuel and utility costs alone on the increase, that could indeed clobber us.