LIZ MAMMAT'S reply (Chronicle, May 15) to my letter concerning the council's attitude towards pensioners is a classic example of issue-dodging together with a distortion of the facts and attempts to deflect the argument in other directions. I respond as follows.
If I had seen the April issue of Hounslow Matters then I would have read about the new charges for bulk rubbish collection but, as no issues of this publication have been received in this area for months, her accusation is a non-sequitur.
Additionally, by inference she accuses pensioners of exploiting the previous system but I would be interested to know how many and how they were able to
Her statement that the charge is £25 for five items does not tell the full story; the charge is £25 for one to five items and for each item above five the cost increases by £5 so that the charge for 10 items, for example, is £50. And that is not 'clobbering' pensioners?
The big distortion in her letter is that hardship is being caused to pensioners because of the abolition of the 10p tax rate.
The reality is that personal allowances for people aged between 65 and 74 were increased from £7,550 to £9,030 (both higher for over-74s). The effect of this is that all pensioners in this age bracket with incomes up to £9,030 are taken out of tax altogether and those above this figure will pay less because the increase in allowance, coupled with the reduction of the basic rate, produces a lower tax burden (the arithmetic is simple). I have seen my tax bill reduce even after an increase in the state pension and my wife now pays no tax.
Admittedly, this leaves the question of women aged between 60 and 65 who are officially pensioners and who theoretically would have suffered as a result of the changes.
However, pension tax credits, coupled with the increased personal allowances for this group, would have lessened the effect on those with lower incomes and the recently-announced additional personal allowance should wipe out any loss.
She brings in 'high tax on fuel' but this is a red herring and I bet she knows it. Fuel excise duty has been at a high level for decades and, until recent years, was increased in line with inflation, a salient point she conveniently ignores.
Freezes in the past couple of years have helped in some way. The actual rises in the cost of fuel are due to market forces (something that I thought Tories believed in) brought about by hugely increased demand, particularly in the developing world, and the slow diminution of supply. But then, according to Liz Mammat, that's the Government's fault.
Finally, she also throws in post office closures. Let me make it clear that I am opposed to this policy too but, once again, pensioners are not the only ones to suffer.
It's a case of market forces (which should never be allowed to affect public services) and I don't hear of any proposals from the Tories as to how they would stem the losses being incurred by Royal Mail.
I saw no response to my comment about path and pavement maintenance nor to my question as to why the in-house refuse collection bid was not considered.
DEREK WHEATLEY Consort Mews, Isleworth.