Rishi Sunak ‘could strip wealthier pensioners of winter fuel payments’ as trade-off for keeping triple-lock on state pensions
Rishi Sunak could strip wealthier pensioners of winter fuel payments as a trade-off for keeping the triple-lock on pensions, it was claimed today.
The PM had been flirting with ditching the flagship pensions mechanism – which means they go up by the highest out of wages, inflation or 2.5 per cent – amid fears over spiralling costs.
Downing Street has signalled that the policy will be included in the manifesto for the next election.
However, according to Sky News the premier is now considering limiting the winter fuel allowance to people who receive pension credit, in a bid to claw back some of the funding.
A government insider told the broadcaster: ‘Rishi understands the politics of the triple lock, although he thinks it’s far from fair from an intergenerational point of view, so he’s trying to redress that a little bit.’
Rishi Sunak could strip wealthier pensioners of winter fuel payments as a trade-off for keeping the triple-lock on pensions, it was claimed today
The PM had been flirting with ditching the flagship pensions mechanism – which means they go up by the highest out of wages, inflation or 2.5 per cent – amid fears over spiralling costs
Another source suggested that the public would ‘understand’ if Mr Sunak kept the triple lock but took the winter fuel allowance from wealthy pensioners.
‘I think people will understand that and think it’s fair,’ they added.
Speculation over the future of the triple lock caused a frenzy in Tory circles this month.
Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride has openly admitted that the policy is not sustainable in the long term, with fears costs will crush other services.
But many MPs regard any efforts to trim benefits for older people as electoral suicide, pointing to Theresa May’s disaster in the 2017 contest.
This winter anyone born before 25 September 1957 is eligible to get between £250 and £600 to help pay for bills.
The exact amount depends on criteria such as age and makeup of your household.
But it is not means tested – so wealthier pensioners receive the money as well.
Lib Dem work and pensions spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain said it would be a ‘slap in the face for pensioners facing soaring energy bills this winter’.
The IFS think-tank has pointed out that triple-lock means the value of the state pension is set to rise sharply compared to average wages
‘Rishi Sunak must be living on another planet if he thinks this is the answer to the country’s problems. Pensioners have worked hard and paid their taxes all their lives, they shouldn’t be made to pay the price for the Conservative Party crashing the economy,’ she said.
A Government spokesman said: ‘We have protected pensioners with the biggest State Pension increase in history this year as well as boosting Pension Credit – worth around £3,500-a-year for those on the lowest incomes.
‘On top of Winter Fuel Payments, pensioners will get another £300 this winter to help with essential costs, and we are bearing down on inflation to make everyone’s money go further.’
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