MSE Poll: What should be means-tested? Free bus passes, the NHS, student loans?

Former_MSE_Karl Former MSE Posts: 175
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Poll started 23 July 2019
Which of the following allowances and entitlements do you think should be means-tested based on your income/wealth – in other words the richest don’t get it or get less. And which do you think everyone should get regardless?
Did you vote? Are you surprised at the results so far? Have your say below.

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  • Annhuck
    Annhuck Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    I would be very angry if free bus passes were means tested or withdrawn. I feel as if I’ve been hit by every financial scandal and this would be the last straw. I got my first mortgage in early 70s when mortgage interest rates fluctuate between 10 and 15 percent but as a result I did not have the savings to benefit from high savings rates I took out a personal pension which was miss sold I later took out an AVC with Equitable Life which went bust. I’m 64 but won’t get state pension until I’m 66 and I didn’t have enough time to prepare for it. At the same time savings rates have been rock bottom making it very difficult to make headway with savings to boost income and save for future. If I wasn’t eligible for a free bus pass I’d have another blow to add to the list. This is dire
    POPPYOSCAR Forumite Posts: 14,892
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    I think we should do away with child benefit altogether and provide a free school meal to every pupil in place of it.

    That way no child is singled out and no child should be in school hungry.
  • jnm21
    jnm21 Forumite Posts: 851
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    There is a missing option - remove all together! Before I explain, I must point out that I am certain that I will never be a higher rate tax payer.

    Many of the benefits should be scrapped - child benefit for one - we don't need to encourage people to have kids. Free museum access - I never knew this existed.

    That said, I generally say free to all - why should someone who has worked all their life, lived frugally & saved miss out while a workshy career benefits abuser (not those who genuinely need benefits, but those who choose not to work) gets everything? Why should a high earner who has paid many times more taxes (income tax, NI, VAT, Road Tax, duties, student 'loan', etc.) & is more likely not to have availed of public services having gone privately for health care, gyms/leisure centres, etc. miss out on free bus passes (which if they helped convince those in failing health to give up driving would make us all safer) & TV licences?

    Don't get me started on state pensions - I reckon if I ever get one I will be 72 to 78 & I really mean IF I get one.
    Certain OTT members have caused me to add this disclaimer: all advice given is free of charge & as such should be taken to be IIRC (as I don't spend hours researching all answers :eek: )!
  • Tesboy
    Tesboy Forumite Posts: 2 Newbie
    Pensioners, people in work or out of work (provided they're trying their best to work etc) should get a SINGLE state benefit that gives them enough to reasonably live on. So if they're working but earning less than this, there should be a SINGLE top up to the reasonable level.

    The problem with all these individual benefits is that they have to be "managed" if they're not free for all and that costs!

    To achieve this, where individuals need extra help eg Disabled needing home care or a modified home or appropriate transport, this should be provided free as the SINGLE state benefit would not expect to cover such costs.

    There will be other examples where things needed to be provided free because of special circumstances but they should be provided for free and NOT given a benefit payment.
  • However
    However Forumite Posts: 76
    Eighth Anniversary 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    This Poll is too simplistic. First, 'means-tested' is a phrase that is emotionally and politically charged. It's an left-wing approach of envy and spite that those who think they themselves deserve things for free wish to prevent others getting them, or because they don't get them for free themselves they wish to stop others getting them for free.

    Secondly, e.g. re state pension, for 45 years I have contributed to everyone's state pension in those years; now that I have my state pension everyone younger is contributing to it, just like I did. So it's not free even now. Similarly NHS, I have contributed to its funding for nearly 60 years now and will continue to contribute to it until the day I die - and that's according to much tax I pay and that means it's already 'means-tested'. It's nonsensical to ask whether it should be free or means-tested. Same applies to most other items - we pay already through taxes of one sort or another things that you think are free and should be 'means-tested' - again an ideology that's irrational based on envy.
    Thirdly, 'means-testing' is a (costly) device for raising money from the victims from whom more money is demanded. Never believe it's about reducing the costs for the deserving, whatever it feels like on the surface.

    So to all those who want others, but not themselves, to pay more money, I say be careful of what you wish for. As as example, the TV Licence debacle will save the BBC £800m or some such but it's forecast to cost the country (i.e. everyone whether over or under 75) £1.6bn due to pensioners taking up the pension credit they are entitled to but hadn't claimed. I repeat - be careful what you wish for. I don't in the slightest begrudge pensioners getting what they are legally entitled too, but you - you - will have to pay for it.
  • pollypenny
    pollypenny Forumite Posts: 29,374
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    While I enjoy my free bus pass and OH's free TV licence I could afford to do without. However, I fully understand that these are essentials for some without an occupational pension.

    A fair, and fairly simple way to contribute would be to add a notional amount to my taxable income.
    Member #14 of SKI-ers club

    Words, words, they're all we have to go by!.

    (Pity they are mangled by this autocorrect!)
  • prowla
    prowla Forumite Posts: 12,994
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
    I am embarrassed by the fact that my generation went to uni for free and got grants, and then decided that the future generations would have to pay and borrow.

    The NHS should be free at the point of need; enough of these things have been eroded already.

    Bus passes and pensions should be free to all; the people have paid into the scheme over their working life. Otherwise it's just another tax with no returns.

    This is one of the richest countries in the world, so let's act like it!
  • Pickle1983
    Pickle1983 Forumite Posts: 1 Newbie
    I really wish the over 75s would stop banging on about the free TV licence being stopped for them. My husband’s grandma is loaded and gets this yet people who are younger and struggling have to pay. The same goes with things such as prescriptions and bus passes. If you can afford to pay then I think it’s time that you paid so that other people could get a break. I say this as someone who works full time and would probably be affected by changes such as this but I would rather others could stop struggling than see people who own million pound houses and have thousands in the bank get things for free that they could easily pay for.
  • archie1411
    archie1411 Forumite Posts: 13 Forumite
    If it is an 'optional' thing - e.g. university education - it should be means tested. If it benefits society as a whole - e.g. free bus passes to enable older people to get about and so a) reduce isolation & b) encourage them to stop driving - then it should be free to all. School meals should not be free other than in extreme cases - feeding a child is the responsibility of the parents
  • newbs68
    newbs68 Forumite Posts: 26
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker PPI Party Pooper
    Why are passports on the list? Surely a passport is part of the holiday cost and they aren't necessary like bus travel and or prescriptions.
    Free pass passes for all pensioners have irked me for a long time. Why not give free travel to job seekers. Many can't afford to take a job because it's too expensive to get there.
    School meals should be means tested. Health and education should not unless for foreigners, we can't subsidise the rest of the world.
    Of course libraries should be free, fines should not. I'm a library assistant and see many pensioners taking the mick with their loans. Can't manage to return something on time or renew it because they are off on yet another cruise or new motorhome. But a stressed out mum of four is expected to pay fines, I don't think so.
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