ROME — The Italian government is hoping the Alitalia airline will turn a new page after four private investors expressed an interest in joining the state railway, the Italian treasury and Delta Air Lines in trying once again to relaunch the struggling flagship carrier.Monday marked the deadline for offers of partners to help relaunch Alitalia, which declared bankruptcy two years ago. Alitalia has long suffered from competition from low-cost carriers and been unable to come up with a successful plan to establish itself as a player in lucrative, long-haul routes.Italian Deputy Premier Luigi Di Maio said four offers had arrived ahead of Monday’s deadline: The Atlantia group of the Benetton empire; German Efromovich of Colombian carrier Avianca; Carlo Toto, whose Air One airline was acquired by Alitalia in 2009; and businessman Claudio Lotito.The Associated Press
To reflect this increased prosperity, the peers are calling on the Government to remove the triple lock for State Pensions and instead uprate it in line with average earnings and phase out free TV licences based on age before deciding if it wants to subsidise TV licences based on household income.Members of the House of Lords also suggest that free bus passes and Winter Fuel Payment should only be available five years after a person becomes eligible for the State Pension and that better off workers over the State Pension age should pay National Insurance while they continue to work.Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said: “We are pleased the Committee found evidence of continuing strong intergenerational bonds across our society, especially within families, and this reflects what we hear too.” The Committee sets out a series of recommendations to meet this challenge. However, some suggestions – such as scrapping free bus passes and TV licences – have sparked a backlash from charities.Age UK said that young people should not be helped “at the expense of the older generation”.In a bid to tackle tax and spending issues, the Committee said that while “age-based benefits and allowances were justified in the past to tackle pensioner poverty”, many pensioner households are now on average better off than many working age households. This is in terms of both income after housing costs and household wealth. Dr Anna Dixon, Chief Executive, Centre for Ageing Better said that with levels of pensioner poverty on the rise for the first time since 2010, the ‘triple lock’ on the State Pension provides “a vital safety net” for people at risk of poverty in later life.“Nor should we be complacent about changes to benefits, given the level of inequality amongst people in later life,” she added. “This includes access to affordable transport, which is critical to many people’s ability to get out and about and access essential services.””But none of this is as potentially catastrophic as failing to build decent, accessible homes that meet the needs and aspirations of our ageing population, or making our workplaces fit for our longer working lives.”Lord True, Chairman of the Committee, said: “Young people told us they feel short changed by the housing market, so we are recommending policies to deliver a significant increase in the supply of social and private housing and recommend protections to give renters long term security be backed a new regulatory framework.“We also need to change how we view education and training. Longer working lives mean older workers need support to reskill and continue to contribute in the workplace and younger people, particularly those who do not go to university need the government to prioritise and fund further education and vocational training.” A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “We know that buses are a vital way for older and disabled people to maintain their independence, which is why we renewed our commitment to continue the free bus pass scheme last year.“There are no plans to amend this legislation and we are committed to ensuring that free local bus travel continues for these groups.” A Department for Culture Media and Sport spokesman said: “Following the BBC Charter Review, the government has committed to maintain the current licence fee funding model for the BBC until 2027. “The BBC will take on responsibility for free licences for the over 75s from 2020 and it is right that they have consulted the public before making any decisions. We’ve been clear that we would want and expect them to continue with this important concession.” However she added: “Young people may well need more help but we disagree that this should be at the expense of the older generation. “This underplays the extent of need among older people, and skates over the great difficulty of ensuring a targeted approach which actually reaches those older people who are the most vulnerable.“All the evidence suggests that means-testing, for example, results in significant numbers of very poor older people missing out. More profoundly we reject the notion that helping younger and older people is an ‘either/or’; in practice many at both ends of the age spectrum need our society’s support and an advanced twenty first century economy like the UK is well placed to provide it.” Free bus passes, TV licences and winter fuel for pensioners should be scrapped, in a bid to promote ‘intergenerational fairness’, peers say.The House of Lords Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision today published a report calling on the Government to take measures to deliver a fairer society by supporting younger people in the housing and employment market, and deliver better in-work training to prepare the country over the next 100 years.The report entitled, ‘Tackling intergenerational unfairness’ found that the relationship between older and younger generations is being failed because British youth are not properly supported with rewarding jobs and adequate housing.Meanwhile it says that governments have failed to plan properly for the needs of a larger older population. 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