The Chancellor's pre-election bonuses for pensioners were branded "gesture politics" and "glamorous distractions" today by sceptical campaigners.
Help the Aged said that while the announcement of free local bus travel for all OAPs was a welcome surprise, Mr Brown's offerings were essentially a "cash bribe" to the elderly which failed to meet their real needs.
In a budget seen as a concerted attempt to woo the grey vote ahead of a General Election, the Chancellor also promised every pensioner household a headline-grabbing #200 council tax refund.
And he pledged to end the system under which elderly people have their pensions docked if they stay in hospital for more than a year.
But Help the Aged's Mervyn Kohler accused Mr Brown of focusing on peripheral issues, instead of tackling the crucial areas of "ailing" social care services and reform of the pensions system.
"We're dealing with some glamorous distractions rather than the main meat and drink of what pensioners' politics are all about," he said.
"There's a certain amount of gesture politics here ahead of a General Election."