It is understandable that some members are disappointed at the decision not to continue the free membership scheme for 50-year members. It is disappointing, however, that your correspondents seem not to have understood that Council gave long and careful consideration to the issues before reaching this decision.
Suggestions that the Institution 'is mean', or that it should continue to 'give' free membership are missing a fundamental point. In balancing its operating account, the Institution does not have any money to give or in respect of which to be mean. The source of supply is members' subscriptions. When a benefit is 'given' to one class of member, it is paid for by the other members.
In the case of the 50-year rule, and in view of the daunting demographic trends towards greater numbers of retired and 50-year members, Council decided that this transfer should not continue. Had your correspondents heard the Council debate, I believe they would have agreed with the decision.
Roger Sainsbury (F), President, Institution of Civil Engineers, One Great George St, Westminster, London SW1P 3AA