I AM an old-age pensioner, 92 years old and a few years ago I had a knee replacement operation, closely followed by a hip replacement.
I live in Alnmouth, by myself, which is made possible by the assistance I get as a non-residential adult from Northumberland Social Services Care Trust. This is a very great benefit to me. However, recently problems have arisen.
I make a financial contribution towards my costs and I have been given notice by Northumberland County Council that these are likely to rise very steeply in the near future, from £90 per week to £120 or even more.
This is the latest in a number of arbitrary increases.
Prior to 2006, my weekly charge was £35 and then the increases began. In April 2006 the weekly charge became £45, in April 2007, it became £60 and in April 2009, it became £90. If the latest proposals are agreed, the charge will be £120, making it nearly 400 per cent of what it was four or five years ago.
It is interesting to compare these increases to the pension rates that have occurred. My Old Age Pension per year over the same period has been as follows: £4,300, £4,500, £4,575, £4,699, £4,870, £5,064, £5,321.
I consider that the increases proposed by the county council are extortionate and soon will exceed what the national Government seems to think is appropriate for the State Old Age Pension. In addition, the rates of increase are astronomical, bearing little comparison to the general rise of prices even in this period of high inflation.