Letter: I won't freeze

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The Independent Culture
Sir: In common with 8.4 million other old age pensioners I am about to receive a pounds 20 winter fuel payment. I do not really need it and shall pass mine on.

I am not alone in having a generous occupational pension as well as my DSS pension, and I no longer have any dependants. I live in a small flat and my income is perfectly adequate to pay my fuel bills. Government figures published last October show that in 1995/96 the top 20 per cent of pensioners lived in households where they enjoyed an average income of pounds 22,000 a year. Why does the Government make fuel payments to people on incomes like ours? Because it would be very difficult and expensive to devise a way of targeting them which does not inadvertently cut out some who really need them.

I suggest that those of us who can manage without join me in passing over our payments to Age Concern or to Help the Aged, who can use the money to help the people for whom it is intended.

Professor WALTER ELKAN

London NW8

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