I have before me a letter from an indignant 68-year-old. Her son still lives with her, and this seems to be an arrangement satisfactory to both parties; except that she has now discovered that her son’s presence is a bar to her financial happiness. Her savings have been eaten away by a series of operations, and the NHS queues were so huge that she was obliged to go private. “The truly savage increases in council tax has added to my difficulties,” she reports.
So she noticed that she was so straitened that she seemed to be eligible for Gordon Brown’s new pension credit. She wrote off, disclosing every detail of her financial circumstances, as the benefit people require. Am I poor enough, she asked them nicely. Has the Labour Government taken away enough of my money for me to qualify?
Wee-eell, said the little tin gods who run the benefits department, that depends on your son. What is he worth, then? They said that he would also have to hand over the minutest records of his income and expenditure, no matter how personal, down to the last fiver. As his furious mother wrote: “I think it is an impertinence for a group of civil servants to expect him to hand over all his bank and financial details for a three-month period. There isn’t a businessman anywhere who would agree. My finances are nothing to do with him, anyway.”
Alas, of course, she has no choice…