27 DECEMBER 1963, Page 13


SIR,—Under the caption 'Old Age' the Spectator was good enough to publish two letters from me in the issues of July 12 and 26. In these letters I stated that I trusted my experiences would in some measure help the public to realise the sorry state of thousands of elderly people in Britain today. I have since read in your correspondence columns the letters exchanged between Mr. F. O'Hanlon and others under the very descriptive heading of 'Below the Bread Line.' This very aptly sums up our situation. We are 'below the bread line' and further 'below the warmth line' and even other lines of decent living. We are also almost beyond hope. To quote my own case once again, as a concrete example, even very moderate and in- adequate heating costs us between 14s. and 17s. a week, our extra National Assistance for this purpose is 6s. or about two days heating and cooking out of seven.

Thousands of the elderly will die this winter from

inadequate heating and insufficient nourishment. It is very difficult not to feel that those who have our fate in their hands are quite indifferent to what happens to us. It is ghastly to feel that our rulers do not care two hoots about us because we are elderly or old. Because we have no power and have no pressure group behind us are we to be left to exist in misery, frequently harshly treated and insulted by officials and even by so-called welfare workers, and finally to die in equally miserable circumstances? For many of us time is a very vital factor. The young can afford to wait, their lives are in front of them. We cannot afford to wait for better times because for us the sands of time are quickly running out. Is there no one in any political party with any con- science on this subject?