The Nationals take-up boaters' plea

Published: Friday, 04 November 2022

THE Express has taken-up Keith Gudgin's plea for Rishi Sunak to show 'compassion' in any triple-lock decision.

The liveaboard told Sunak that pensioners are 'not a cash cow that can pay for the debt of the country' as fears grow over the government's dropping of the triple lock on pensions as the cost of living crisis bites, he believing he is one of the 'forgotten few' who are already being ignored for state aid though the cost of living is rising dramatically.

KeithContinuous cruiser

Like many other liveaboards—Keith has spent the past decade as a continuous cruiser—he relies on his state pension as his only source of income, describing those in the same predicament as a 'neglected group of older people', who have missed out on the support offered to pensioners living on the land, with an estimated 5,500 such boaters, with Keith telling the Express:

“My boat is my home. It is therefore, by definition, a household. So why are we not being given the same support that ‘all households’ are getting with their fuel bills and cost of living increases?

 “Just because I live off grid doesn’t mean my fuel hasn’t gone up. My coal bill has more than doubled in the last two months.

"A bag of smokeless coal has gone up from £10.50 to £22. A bag will last me five days. I need around 37 bags to cover me for the around 180 days of winter. That’s an increase from £388.50 to £814, assuming there is no further increase by the end of winter that is!”

Just £300

Pensioners on land had been promised £1,200 support this winter, but he has been offered just £300 on top of his winter fuel allowance this year.

At the moment Keith is moored near Whittington on the Coventry Canal and enjoys being a continuous cruiser moving within the 14 days limit.