Pensioner’s alarm anger

Former Manton miner Dennis Wells holds concerns over soaring rent, community alarm and energy costs over the forthcoming winter  (w111128-10a)
Former Manton miner Dennis Wells holds concerns over soaring rent, community alarm and energy costs over the forthcoming winter (w111128-10a)

A MANTON pensioner has spoken out about the ‘crippling’ price increases elderly people will face next year.

Dennis Wells, of Kingston Close, said he was appalled A1 Housing tenants will have to find an extra £153 a year to pay for the community alarm system from April 2012.

The 72-year-old currently qualifies for Supporting People funding but is one of many who will have to pay £2.95 a week for the service.

“It’s easy picking for them - they are just bleeding old people dry,” he said.

“They aren’t even giving us the opportunity to not have the service in our home, so we are being forced to pay. It’s not fair.”

Former miner and Bassetlaw Council chairman Dennis suffers from chronic heart condition and diabetes and said reducing warden visits from weekly to quarterly was a backward step.

“When I ring the call centre they only tell me to ring an ambulance - I feel I get a better service from the paramedics,” he said.

“As long as I have my home phone to call 999, that gives me peace of mind.”

Dennis said his energy bills have doubled in the past year, and fears rent and Council Tax will increase next year.

“I only put heating on a few hours a day and have to sit with my coat on. I’m dreading another winter like last one,” he said.

“Pensioners don’t realise yet, but if rent and Council Tax go up it’s going to cost us around an extra £500 a year. We just can’t afford it.”

A1 Housing director of strategy and change Joice Richards said the community alarm and warden service was a ‘lifeline’ that needs to be protected and that alarms would not be removed.

“What we would say to the people who think they may never need to use the service is that illness or injury can happen when you least expect it and the Community Alarm can provide extra peace of mind in the event of an emergency,” she said.

A Bassetlaw Council spokesman said any decision on rent and Council Tax increases would be taken in the New Year.