PM challenged to live on pensioner's monthly income
THE PENSIONS REVOLUTION Keeping body and soul together is a daily struggle for Elizabeth Raybone
Thursday 06 March 1997
Miss Raybone is 62, partially sighted and lives in a "two-up two- down" house in Gwent, South Wales. She receives income support and a disability allowance which comes to pounds 78 a week. Everything has to be accounted for, but she says that her cat, Beauty, is her one luxury.
She budgets pounds 59 for her heating, mortgage, electricity, telephone bills, newspapers, television licence and insurance. The remaining pounds 19 goes on food - mainly pulses and vegetables as they are cheap and filling. That way she can just about manage, if she spends time in the market shopping around for the best food bargains. "I rarely eat meat - it is far too expensive. I might eat it once a fortnight, if I' m very lucky." But there are sometimes unforeseen problems which can throw her budget out. "It's a question of trying to leave something for a month or two, hope that they don't push me and try to make it up by cutting down on food or heating."
"Heating you can save by wrapping yourself up in a blanket on a chair or just going to bed of course."
But she is terrified of running into debt. "I've seen too many people fall into debt and they just can't get out. If I fell behind in my mortgage payments I could lose my house as easy as pie. For something like the heating, well they can't switch you off in the winter, but come 1 March and they'll do it. At the moment I desperately need new carpets and curtains - but it is not something I can afford."
Miss Raybone did not go out to work but spent most of her life caring for her parents: "It was very hard as practically all my life they were seriously ill and there were no facilities for carers. There was nothing at all.
"We just weren't able to save. If you had saved all your life then maybe you would be able to cope, but with two seriously ill parents it just wasn't possible."
She feels that politicians have failed to realise what sort of life many old people lead and says that yesterday's announcements probably amounts to no more than "election promises".
"If they would just put up the pension pounds 10 or pounds 15 it would make a difference," she said.
"But when you're on pounds 700 a week you don't know what it is like on pounds 70. You're counting each penny - and if milk goes up a penny then you have to find that penny from somewhere else. They wouldn't be able to cope."
- 1 Green village to be bulldozed and mined for lignite in Germany's quest for non-nuclear fuel
- 4 Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
- 5 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
Isis could become 'world’s first truly terrorist state' and bomb UK with nuclear and chemical weapons, Theresa May warns
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
£50 - £60 per day + plus Travel Scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job: O...
£100 - £110 per day + Plus travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job:...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£100 - £105 per day + plus Travel Scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job:...