Removal of pensioner concessions at the South Bank Centre

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Sunday 5 September 2004 2.20pm
I am most annoyed to hear that the concession normally available to all pensioners is now to be made available only to those on pension credit. Many people do not wish to be means tested and therefore do not claim pension credit to which they may well be entitled, and now will not be able to access this concession. I am very concerned that this route may now be used by other organisations which routinely give concessions to pensioners. In other countries, it is sufficient to provide proof of age to obtain a concession ticket. To imagine that all pensioners not claiming pension credit are wealthy is completely inaccurate, and those who do claim pension credit do not necessarily wish to show a 'badge of poverty' in order to obtain a concession at the South Bank Centre.



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 5 September 2004 2.28pm by James Hatts.
Sunday 5 September 2004 9.49pm
Only partly playing devil's advocate...

Assuming you are neither living in poverty, nor old enough to have served in the armed forces or otherwise contributed to the war effort during World War II, precisely why should you receive a concession on admission to arts performances in priority to any other individual living on a modest income?

To suggest that filling in a few forms to claim modern income-related pension benefits, with a five yearly review of circumstances is analogous to the intrusion of the weekly "means test" for Unemployment Assistance in the 1930s - when my father was brought up by his widowed mother in a Scottish community whose econony had been destroyed by the collapse of shipbuilding - is, IMHO a nonsense.
Monday 6 September 2004 7.21am
I think today's poorly-off pensionners are even less likely to claim the "pension credit" than previous generations were prepared to undergo the"means test". Not because the process of application is degrading or intrusive but because either the benefit can be negligible and not worth the effort to claim (certainly less than the cumulative "concessions" an active pensionner may avail of in an average week). Or because they have not heard of the pension credit or do not know how to apply (the government's own estimates of the cost of the benefit assume a whopping proportion of eligible pensionners simply do not apply).

That said I am not totally sure where I stand on what the South Bank Centre is trying to do. On the one hand they are simply following the government's example with pensions and trying to target their resources in this area to the people they think most deserve / need it. On the other hand it is a blunt instrument they are using and, as the original poster said, it is absolutely wrong to think that all poor pensionners claim the Pension Credit.

I would like to know exactly how the SBC will know whether the pensionners are claiming Pension Credit? What kind of proof will they ask for? (I didn't realise that there was a card people could carry stating they were a recipient of Pension Credit.)

But other than that I hope they keep an eye on the stats and evaluate their policy. (If they even have the stats or intend to evaluate it.) I would like to know what effect this has on the attendance of pensionners. If it leads to a big fall then it should probably be rethought.

The whole policy you would think could have ramifications way beyond the SBC - you could see it catching on in all number of institutions. I do hope they keep an eye on its implementation and are big enough to reverse it if it proves problematical.
Monday 6 September 2004 1.19pm
Lang Rabbie wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Only partly playing devil's advocate...
>
> Assuming you are neither living in poverty, nor
> old enough to have served in the armed forces or
> otherwise contributed to the war effort during
> World War II, precisely why should you receive a
> concession on admission to arts performances in
> priority to any other individual living on a
> modest income?


(Sorry if I'm being dense, but) what's the war got to do with it?

...if you press it, they will come.
Monday 6 September 2004 1.36pm
Ivanhoe wrote:
> (Sorry if I'm being dense, but) what's the war
> got to do with it?

You can make a reasonable argument that a grateful nation should provide some token of its gratitude, such as automatic concessions, to all those who made sacrifices.

[Adopts a devil's advocate's/ Samuel Smiles 'Self Help' stance: ]
There's a much weaker argument for automatic benefits to the pampered children of the welfare state, who during their highest earning period frittered away their tax cuts from Mrs Thatcher on overseas holidays rather than saving for their retirement [/'Self Help']





Edited 1 times. Last edit at 6 September 2004 5.05pm by Lang Rabbie.
Monday 6 September 2004 4.08pm
Hmmmmmmmm. So unless there's a war in my lifetime I shouldn't expect any pension on the grounds that I'm not deserving enough?

If one were to be a veteran of several wars, should that increase one's pension entitlement?

...if you press it, they will come.
Monday 6 September 2004 4.15pm
It's certainly possible to make a reasonable argument along those lines, Ivanhoe. If YOU're relying on the state pension to provide for you, no wonder you're starting young to learn valuable skills of parsimony - such as brewing your own headache juice!

TPIC.

Oh, and I don't think - any more than he does - that my father (despite his qualifying under LR's criteria) deserves a free TV licence.



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 6 September 2004 4.16pm by Mapmaker.
Monday 6 September 2004 5.25pm
Yes - I forgot about free TV licences - what's the message for SE1's pensioners then? Bye-bye subsidised entry to cultural institutions such as the South Bank Centre - but you can have a free tv licence no questions asked.

So the authorities are trying to incentivise pensioners to stay at home then?
Monday 6 September 2004 5.57pm
I've just realised that my first must have seemed pretty abrupt.

That was because I didn't state up front that IMHO chavender misrepresents the SBC's position when he stated: "I am most annoyed to hear that the concession normally available to all pensioners is now to be made available only to those on pension credit. "

What is happening is that the current very modest universal concession for the over 60s, typically only a 2-3 reduction on 25 ticket prices, is to be replaced by a much more generous 5 ticket price for those on income related benefits.

http://www.sbc.org.uk/pdf/press/ticket_concessions.pdf
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/arts/3594488.stm
http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php?sid=3874
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,1289331,00.html

[Declaration of interest - SBC have been clients of mine in the past, and may be again, but I have had no involvement with this scheme]



Edited 1 times. Last edit at 6 September 2004 5.58pm by Lang Rabbie.
Monday 6 September 2004 6.02pm
Not forgetting http://www.london-se1.co.uk/news/view/1148 ....

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