Pensioner who takes buses to keep warm 'disappointed' after PM fails to offer solution

3 May 2022, 19:07 | Updated: 3 May 2022, 19:47

Susanna Reid has revealed a 77-year-old woman who rides buses all day because she can&squot;t afford to heat her home, was left "disappointed" after Boris Johnson failed to offer a solution to help.
Susanna Reid has revealed a 77-year-old woman who rides buses all day because she can't afford to heat her home, was left "disappointed" after Boris Johnson failed to offer a solution to help. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

Susanna Reid has revealed a 77-year-old woman who rides buses all day because she can't afford to heat her home, was left "disappointed" after Boris Johnson failed to offer a solution to help.

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It comes after the PM was challenged by Ms Reid on the £9billion package of loans to cut energy bills and council tax rebates, amid calls for him to go further.

He was challenged about the story of Elsie, a 77-year-old pensioner, who rides buses all day because she can’t afford to heat her home.

The widow, who lives in a council house, has cut down to one meal a day after seeing her energy bill increase from £17 to £85 a month.

She receives a pension of £170 a week.

Asked what Elsie should cut back on now, the Prime Minister said "I don't want Elsie to cut back on anything", in an interview with Good Morning Britain.

He added: "The 24-hour freedom bus pass was actually something that I actually introduced."

Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr, Susanna Reid revealed: "I spoke to Elsie after my interview with the Prime Minister and she says how disappointed she is with what he said.

"Because she says there are people who are even worse off than she is and there was no answer for them apart from 'oh I was the person who was responsible for the bus pass'.

"I mean as if she is supposed to be grateful for that."

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It came after Ms Reid explained how she came across Elsie's story.

"We were doing a cost of living special on GMB with Martin Lewis and we found Elsie and discovered some details about her," she said.

"When I was doing my research for the interview with the Prime Minister, it struck me that it's very easy for the PM to bandy about very big figures - 'we're spending a billion on this, we've doubled spending on this, we've got one billion going into this...' - but as I looked through those case studies, it struck me: what does that mean to Elsie?

"It doesn't mean anything to Elsie.

"If she gets on a bus every day because that stops her putting the heating on at home, what is the Prime Minister going to do directly for Elsie?"

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Jonathan Ashworth, Labour’s Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, earlier described the Prime Minister's response to Elsie's story as "out of touch".

"It is utterly shameful that pensioners have no choice but to sit on the bus all day to avoid racking up heating bills at home, or are left shivering in blankets and only eating one meal a day," he said.

Read more: Boris squirms as he is grilled about pensioner who rides bus all day to keep warm

"For Boris Johnson to respond by boasting about the London bus pass reveals just how out of touch this narcissistic Prime Minister is. The simple truth is Boris Johnson has just imposed the biggest real terms cut to the pension in 50 years and charities like Age UK are warning this will be a year of hell for Britain’s retirees.

"A vote for Labour on Thursday is a vote to send the Conservatives a message they can't ignore about why we need a windfall tax to provide real help to families facing the Conservatives’ cost of living crisis."