The residents of Birmingham’s first retirement village listened with interest to the Budget.
Among them was Jean Agnew, aged 71, who has recently moved into a rented apartment at New Oscott Village from her three-bedroomed council house in Kingstanding.
She is divorced and was a single mother for most of her life, struggling with money, but now she’s in her twilight years she wants to enjoy life in her new home.
Mrs Agnew said the Budget was a disappointment which had “nothing” for pensioners and had put her off voting Labour.
Her state pension is £130.02 a week and she also gets a private pension of £30 a month from her employers.
Out of this she has to pay her rent and an amenities charge which covers water, gas and electricity.
Other outgoings are telephone, TV licence, and life and house contents insurance.
She also saves £30 a month towards her funeral costs because she does not want her children to have to foot the bill when she dies.
As a pensioner Jean receives the winter fuel allowance of £250 a year. This year, because of the colder than usual temperatures, she received an extra payment of £75.
After all of these payments she is left with £50-£60 a week to spend on food, her social life and an annual holiday.
“I’m thrifty and sensible with money, and have never been in debt,” she said.
“What I wanted to see from the Budget was for fuel not to go up because, although I don’t drive, if petrol goes up that affects everything: food, transport, everything and I don’t like to see my children struggling with their petrol bills,” she said. “I would also have liked to have seen the age at which you get a free TV Licence come down from 75 to maybe 70 but that didn’t happen.
“The winter fuel allowance is nice but I am disappointed it has not gone up.
“Even though the Chancellor has continued the cold weather payments, that won’t help because not everyone qualifies for those.”
Jean said the biggest disappointment was the state pension going up by a small amount to just £132.60.
“At the rate everything else is going up, that increase will soon disappear,” she said.
“I’m not impressed with the Budget. It was all about banks, the economy and gimmicks to get votes at the General Election - there was nothing for the ordinary man or woman.”