OAP alarm at rising costs

EAST Renfrewshire pensioners claim they have been blindsided by the council’s hidden costs of living.

Following April’s budget, a community alarm system, which previously cost £18.20 per quarter has now risen by 50 per cent to £27.30, which pensioners are unable to opt out of.

Instead, locals received a bill for the increased rate, complete with threat of court action, last week.

Audrey Brown, an 81-year-old from Netherlee told The Extra: “I understand prices go up, but we have been trying for a week to get hold of the council and they have not replied to us.

“To send us in the amount, with a threat instead of a notification is completely unfair. It’s just not right to punish us”.

The elderly also previously had access to free refuse pick up for household appliances, now a £20 charge is demanded.

Adele Fry from Thornliebank, is unable to drive to dispose of broken appliances herself, so is forced to pay the council.

The 83-year-old added: “Everything seems to be going up apart from our pensions.

“I can’t afford all these costs when I am already struggling. It’s a lot of money for a pensioner.

“I have been trying to get hold of my councillors but each have been ringing out when I call”. Also, from April this year, the council began charging for the treatment of intruder insects for the first time. A first visit now costs £36.59.

“I am absolutely fizzing”, said 80-year-old Linda Hornstein from Giffnock, “these are scare tactics because they think pensioners will just sit there and take it.

“We had nothing in writing telling us of these changes before they came in place”.

An East Renfrewshire council spokesman told The Extra: “As budgets tighten we need to focus on making sure we get the maximum savings to protect our essential front line services, particularly social care and education.

“Another part of balancing our budget is to make sure we are getting the maximum income we can from our chargeable services.”