Pensioner who has never claimed a penny in benefits hits out at ’embarrassing’ 25p increase


A pensioner who says he has never claimed a penny in benefits and started working at the age of 15 has hit out at his ’embarrassing’ pension increase – of just 25p.

James Colderley, 79, spent more than 50 years doing labour-intensive roles – only to be rewarded with a tiny bonus for reaching the grand old age of 80.

A letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) announced that, from September, the grandfather-of-five will get an extra 25p per week – the equivalent of £13 a year.

The meager boost is known as the Age Addition, a state pension bonus for over 80s introduced in the early 1970s.

It has been frozen since 1972.

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James, of Chadderton, Oldham, started his first job as an apprentice bricklayer when he was just 15 years old.

He went on to work in telesales before spending 20 years delivering carpets.

And for the last 30 years of his career, he worked as an HGV driver – retiring at the age of 67.

He said: “I never left a job. I was made redundant from every job because the firms closed. I went around, knocked on doors and got another job.

The grandfather-of-five will get an extra 25p per week – the equivalent of £13 a year

“At one stage, I was working for a company delivering carpets. I was leaving at 6am in the morning and coming back at 7pm because we had three young children and didn’t have much money.

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“I worked hard, 14 hours a day at times. I never claimed benefits, I never even claimed sick money.

“I’ve gone to work when I’ve been ill. Knowing I had three children to bring up, I couldn’t afford to be off. I broke my hand; I went to work.”

James says he was left “embarrassed” when he received his annual pension review and spotted a far from exciting 80th birthday present.

A note that the bottom of the letter said “Age Addition of 25p per week will be payable from your 80th Birthday.”

Concerned he had read it wrong, he asked family and friends to check.

They confirmed it was correct, and James was left wondering if somebody was having a laugh at his expense.

He added: “I felt embarrassed and disgusted. I’d have sooner not known. It makes a mockery of the money the government’s giving out. It’s just a joke that.

“I’d rather they’d not put that on to tell you the truth. To put that on the bottom when I’m 80, it’s like saying oh you’ve lived that long, so we’ll give you 25 pence a week extra.

“25 pence, what’s that going to do for me? That doesn’t even buy a newspaper.

“It’s a pension I worked all my life for, I was never ever out of work, paid my stamp, everything. It’s not like they’re giving me anything.

James Colderley has only been repaid with a tiny bonus

“If you’re not going to give anything decent to anybody when they’re 80, don’t bother. It’s an insult, an absolute insult.”

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James attempted to phone the DWP to discuss the matter but gave up after he was left on hold for 20 minutes each time.

“I thought it was a joke. I tried to get on them, but I couldn’t get through on the phone,” he said.

“I just wanted to speak to them and ask them was the date April 1st? It was like an April Fool’s joke to me.

“I just can’t believe it wasn’t a joke.

“I walk to the shop of a morning time and the paper costs me 70 pence each morning. That’s 25 pence towards one paper.

“Give it to charity, it’s not going to affect my life. What would 25 pence buy you? And that’s a week, not a day.

“You live until you’re 80, you’d think they’d give you something decent. A £100 bonus or something like that would do well. But for that I feel like saying, don’t bother, keep it.”

A DWP spokesperson said: “This Age Addition is linked to legislation from the early 1970s and since then a range of new targeted measures have been introduced to support older pensioners.

“Our winter fuel payments are supporting over 11 million pensioners with their energy bills, including £300 for households with somebody aged 80 and over, while take-up of Pension Credit is at its highest level since 2010.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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