The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Summer 2020 - Cycle Magazine announcement about membership changes
tony_s
Posts: 18
Joined: 18 Feb 2012, 11:14am

The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Postby tony_s » 10 Aug 2020, 12:07pm

To start a new thread or tack onto one already there? Oh well, here is my three ha'porth anyway:-

It has rightly been stated that those who don't like the proposed loss of the old age concession can vote against the motion. Quite so, but it poses a personal ethical difficulty. You see, I have this annoying thing called a conscience: I could afford to lose the concession, and perhaps I therefore should, but that would leave me miffed and disgruntled, harbouring a grudge. Not withstanding the popular impression that old age retirement is a blissful time, in reality it is usually a depressing decline into wreckage, with progressive loss of capacity and faculty. Any small concession that is offered does go some way to softening the blow to one's self-esteem. The issue is not the financial impact, rather the feeling of still being valued, despite ageing. Many comparable organisations do offer old age concessions: it is somewhat odd that CUK proposes not to and I have not so far encountered any other that engages in means testing with all the associated complexities.

Actually, CUK will not simply find oldies accepting the upping of individual concession to full rate individual membership. I and my wife for example, and doubtless many others, would shift from two individual concessionary memberships, currently the cheapest option, to household membership, which as proposed will be cheaper than two full rate memberships. No, it won't save CUK the cost of sending a magazine, since one of us has previously opted not to receive an unwanted second copy anyway. After all this, we will certainly not feel like dishing out more than we need to CUK. On the contrary, any surplus will probably go to one of the many other charities we support.

The question of "charity" has also been raised, but discussion seems to have slid over the fact that there are two quite different interpretations of the word. A statutory charity is simply a body that the government (through the Charity Commission) accepts as non-profit and doing good works. Charity in the traditional sense on the other hand, and this is where conscience comes in, is simply the unforced giving by those who have to those who have not, and is a wholly different kettle of fish. There is no doubt in my mind that the erstwhile CTC charity debate was about becoming a legal charity, just like almost every other comparable organisation already was, and thereby gaining the consequential benefits. It was not, I believe, about becoming a wealth re-distribution organisation. Of course, the majority of members are quite happy to help the less able, and keen in particular to encourage younger generations into cycling, but taking from the old to give to the badly off is not necessarily playing the game. CUK boasts 130-odd years of existence, but should not overlook the stark fact that for most of those years CUK was actually the CTC, a members' benefit club, and for many people it remains just that to this day.

So, how will I vote? Will I vote selfishly in my own interest or altruistically as a principled socialist? I don't know and will probably dither about it right up to the last minute, perhaps even beyond. Whichever way I vote, if I vote, and even if not, I will feel bad about it. I resent being asked to make such a choice, quite apart from anything else.

Ever been slapped in the face with a wet kipper?

Jdsk
Posts: 2990
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Postby Jdsk » 10 Aug 2020, 12:13pm

tony_s wrote:Will I vote selfishly in my own interest or altruistically as a principled socialist?

"Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten... "

; - )

Jonathan

Carlton green
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Joined: 22 Jun 2019, 12:27pm

Re: The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Postby Carlton green » 10 Aug 2020, 12:40pm

Jdsk wrote:
tony_s wrote:Will I vote selfishly in my own interest or altruistically as a principled socialist?

"Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten... "

; - )

Jonathan


Everyone according to his abilities?

I don’t have a crisis of conscience about the old age concession being withdrawn and the reason for that is simple: it’s an un-targeted concession that makes assumptions. As I understand it those that are only in receipt of State Pension are still eligible for a reduced rate. As far as I’m concerned CUK is a membership organisation in which you pay your subs in return for defined benefits, as such I object to others automatically having a ‘free ride’ whilst I pay full price, and particularly so when their disposable income might be the same or more than mine.

In contrast giving the young and wage-less a concession seems fair enough to me because they almost certainly have limited means and will likely go on to become full rate payers, accepting a little less from them now is both charitable and an investment in future membership. Of course a vote is a matter of conscience, should older members want to save themselves some money or should they recognise that freeloading on younger members really isn’t an acceptable thing to do?
Last edited by Carlton green on 10 Aug 2020, 12:43pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jdsk
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Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Postby Jdsk » 10 Aug 2020, 12:43pm

That's the one.

As before, putting aside the acceptability of change and promises that might have been made, why should older people (rather than poorer people) pay less?

(There has now been one answer, concerning health and illness:
https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=139811&p=1517050&hilit=atherosclerosis#p1517045)

Jonathan

Carlton green
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Joined: 22 Jun 2019, 12:27pm

Re: The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Postby Carlton green » 10 Aug 2020, 12:53pm

Jdsk wrote:That's the one.

As before, putting aside the acceptability of change and promises that might have been made, why should older people (rather than poorer people) pay less?

(There has now been one answer, concerning health and illness:
https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=56&t=139811&p=1517050&hilit=atherosclerosis#p1517045)

Jonathan


Ah, ability to use the service which you have paid for. Well try that one on with any other membership organisation and you’ll soon be told ‘that’s your hard luck’, they provide a service and it’s up to the ‘member’ to use the membership package as offered. Take it or leave it, it’s as simple as that.

PH
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Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby
Contact:

Re: The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Postby PH » 10 Aug 2020, 12:58pm

tony_s wrote:Many comparable organisations do offer old age concessions:

The most comparable organisation is British Cycling, it's been mentioned as an alternative on these boards several times recently - they offer no age or other discount.
I've voted against, I'm not bothered by the money, a difference of £1.50 a month is neither here nor there and it's a few years before I'd get the concession anyway. I'm not voting in favour because they haven't made the case, the claim that it will enable them to increase membership isn't backed up by any evidence. Or at least not by any they're prepared to share when I asked that straightforward question on here when this forum section opened.

MartinC
Posts: 1895
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Location: Bredon

Re: The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Postby MartinC » 10 Aug 2020, 3:05pm

I came across this part of the forum earlier, it's not where I usually lurk. I'd searched for this issue 'cos I couldn't believe it wasn't being discussed. I've added already some comments on the other thread.

I agree with much, possibly all, that Tony has said. I've voted against it because, as PH said, the case hasn't been made and the approach is cavalier. If they'd abolished Senior Membership and reduced the standard rate there would've be a more palatable justification rather than hiking membership fees to allegedly increase the number of members.

The dilemma for me is whether I remain a member. I've been a member since 1988, I stayed after the change from a members club to a pseudo charity lobbying organisation because I largely support the aims. The benefits CUK provides to it's supporters are few and easily obtainable elsewhere so the subs are largely just for the feelgood factor. It's not very good a lobbying, BC has much greater clout and presence (not that it's got much ability to influence the UK car culture). I'm a member of BC too and IMO it's been better at extending out of it's cyclesport domain than CUK has been in finding a new role. CUK's desire to be more inclusive is laudable but BC has a sense of purpose that CUK lacks. To put it bluntly CUK is turning itself into just another professional self justifying fund raising organisation. The way they've gone about the proposed subscription changes just reinforces this view.

I've been left with a fairly stark question - is giving CUK £50 a year the best way to get bums on saddles and improve the UK cycling environment?

IanH
Posts: 54
Joined: 7 Nov 2009, 1:50pm
Location: Wellington, Somerset.

Re: The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Postby IanH » 10 Aug 2020, 5:23pm

Third party insurance has been mentioned a few times in this debate. FWIW, I've checked my own Home Insurance Policy and it includes the following statement:

Occupiers and Personal liability – up to £2,000,000 to
cover your legal liability for injury caused to a third party
or their property;

Is this sufficient? Or comparable with Cycling UK Third Party Cover?
Further investigation clearly required.

Anyway, I've voted against.

Bazza55
Posts: 46
Joined: 22 May 2013, 4:56pm

Re: The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Postby Bazza55 » 10 Aug 2020, 9:38pm

I have also voted against the membership charge revision, to me it isn't about money, it is about loyalty and recognition. I have been a fully paid member since 1980 and have paid the full subscription amount for 40 years. I have also volunteered and put my own time and money in trying to increase membership in my city, I was awarded a region volunteer of the year at the Chester AGM awards around 2009. To me it is about appreciation and valuing loyalty, to them it is about money. Before we talk of huge subscription increases, maybe we should start looking at the wages, perks and bonuses of Cycling UK staff? Don't forget at one time we had a Secretary, now we have a CEO.

ElaineB
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Joined: 9 Apr 2011, 6:15pm

Re: The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Postby ElaineB » 12 Aug 2020, 3:31pm

I agree with Bazza55. I am a member of a mid week cycling club made up of a fair number of riders over 60/65/75 and 85 year olds and they are appalled at the proposed vote to abolish the age related subscription. Many of these riders have been members of the ctc/cyclinguk for many years, most more than 35+ years, some even longer. Personally I think these members have paid more than their fair share in to the ctc/cyclinguk coffers. This has been proposed with a view of increasing membership, seriously? I don’t think you get more members by upsetting the ones you all ready have. Sadly, many of our cycling club members will not carry on their membership with cyclinguk if this proposal is passed and who can blame them. These members have been loyally supporting the ctc for years and they are being treated very badly by cyclinguk. As for the third party insurance, Wiggle cycles do one for £24 per annum. I think that cyclinguk have lost contact with their real members, the silent majority, these people will hopefully remind cyclinguk that they exist by not wanting to be used as ‘cash cows’.

Jdsk
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Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Postby Jdsk » 12 Aug 2020, 3:38pm

Bazza55, ElaineB:

I read those as arguments for lower fees for longstanding Members rather than older Members. Would that be right?

Thanks

Jonathan

ElaineB
Posts: 201
Joined: 9 Apr 2011, 6:15pm

Re: The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Postby ElaineB » 12 Aug 2020, 5:22pm

Both. Most long standing members seem to be over a certain age, well at least the ones I know are!
I was referring to long standing members who have paid in over many years, as previous ctc members and will now be expected to start paying £48 per annum.

Charity status seems to bring with it people on large salaries, for some reason.

nicola.marshall
Posts: 13
Joined: 5 Aug 2020, 9:42am

Re: The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Postby nicola.marshall » 13 Aug 2020, 10:21am

Hello

I'm Nicola Marshall, the director responsible for membership. I'm really sorry that you and your club feel that way about the proposed changes. We held a discussion session just before we announced the changes to which all member group secretaries were invited and we are running another one next week (they're called 'Time with Tom' as they are part of the sessions which Tom Page, who supports groups in the volunteering team' runs). Do get in touch with Tom Page groups@cyclinguk.org if your group isn't aware of these.

We are also very happy to have individual phone calls with member groups to explain the changes in more details and get people's feedback. Please do get in touch with Tom on the same email address if you would like to arrange one of these, either for the whole group or just a few people.

FYI I've answered a number of questions from across the forums on a new thread, the link is here: viewtopic.php?f=56&t=140092

We've also got a video, FAQ and articles explaining more about the changes here: https://www.cyclinguk.org/membershipchanges

I won't repeat all the information there. I would just say that I, and my whole team, really enjoy talking to senior members, many of whom, as you say have been members of Cycling UK for many years. We know that these proposals of course affect them much more than other member groups and we're trying our best to answer lots of questions from them and explain the proposals (which are very much proposals at this stage).

We have thought really hard about the proposals and we do think, overall, they are fairer and in the best interests of the long term financial sustainability of the organisation. But of course I understand there are many different views. We have based them on a lot of research which did show that many members value our work for cycling, especially campaigning and lobbying, as much as the benefits they get. But, as I say in the pinned post, there are of course other pure insurance offers out there if people prefer those (though these don't often have the legal advice line; discounts etc). IF the vote goes through, we really want to support all members to remain with us and have a range of options which we think are really good value.

In particular I would highlight our lifetime membership. This is based both on someone's age and how long they have been a member (the latter is, we think, fairly unique amongst member organisations). I spoke to someone last week and the cost for him would have been £26 which is hopefully still good value. Of course we are also really keen to support people to take advantage of the proposed updated concessionary rate if they need to do this and can support them to do so; or move to the household rate or the new supporter package.

As I say in the main post, I'm very happy to speak to any of you directly on the phone about the changes - please do just email the membership@cyclinguk.org address and ask for it to be sent to me.

Best wishes
Nicola

roberts8
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Location: Surrey

Re: The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Postby roberts8 » 13 Aug 2020, 1:39pm

I really think cuk are taking a gamble and along with the other proposals are showing their agenda. I suspect mid week groups and ctc original members will walk and continue with their current cycling friends.Sad.

Jdsk
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Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: The age concession: a crisis of conscience

Postby Jdsk » 13 Aug 2020, 2:12pm

ElaineB wrote:Both. Most long standing members seem to be over a certain age, well at least the ones I know are!
I was referring to long standing members who have paid in over many years, as previous ctc members and will now be expected to start paying £48 per annum.

Thanks.

Yes, it's more likely that older Members will have been Members for longer.

But on that "Both": what's the argument for the other component... lower fees because of older age?

Jonathan