On 1 July the government launched – or perhaps a better phrase is sneaked out – the beginning of a consultation on linking prescription charges to pension age.
Northumberland Labour Deputy leader Liz Simpson said: “We are still seeing the fallout of people who had no occupation pension provision, thanks to previous government policy, telling people to make their own pension arrangements and leaving many far worse off until they become eligible for the state pension.
“Now, to add insult to injury, the government is proposing to link prescription charges to the pension age (66) to rake in £300m for the NHS. They plan to have a ‘grace period’ for people currently aged between 60 and 65 but if this becomes law, then anyone reaching the age of 60 after it comes into effect will have to pay. At the moment that’s £9.35 per prescription item.
“What a time to making a further tax on people who have, quite frankly, suffered enough under this incompetent government. And how cynical to sneak this consultation out just before the NHS’s 73rd birthday and in the middle of a huge football tournament.
“It’s not unheard of for people to ask their pharmacist which medication they can do without, because they simply can’t afford to pay for them all. This is unacceptable in 2021.
“The consultation finishes on 26 August, so please go online and have your say. We will be doing everything we can to reflect local people’s views and we will certainly be responding to the consultation. If this affects you or anyone you care about, please don’t stand by and do nothing.” People can respond to the consultation at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/consultation-on-aligning-the-upper-age-for-nhs-prescription-exemptions-with-state-pension-age