The government are currently considering the withdrawal of winter fuel payments for wealthy pensioners. Prestige Tax and Trust Services were surprised to see that several Conservative ministers have urged the Prime Minister to drop his plans to maintain universal pensioner benefits.
As it stands, pensioners across the board are eligible for benefits such as winter fuel payments and free bus passes, regardless of their income. Many are opposed to this however, maintaining that reliefs like this cannot be maintained for the very rich.
Prime Minister David Cameron seems slightly less keen on doing away with pensioner reliefs for rich elderly people, stating that he fears it would be unfair. He is also dedicated to the promises made to pensioners that the basic state pension would continue to rise by at least 2.5%, in line with inflation and earnings.
This lock on pensions is a major financial commitment for any proceeding government to stick to. So far Labour has declined the challenge of doing so should they be elected to power after the next vote.
Cameron told the BBC that he wants people to feel secure and dignified in their retirement. The winter fuel payment is currently given to anyone born on or before 05/01/1953; a date that changes every year; regardless of their income or savings.
A final decision regarding a change of policy will be made later this year ahead of the next general election in 2015. Maintaining pensioner benefits is a clever tactic in terms of winning voters. Since older people are more likely to turn out and vote, it’s important to keep them onside. Withdrawing winter fuel benefits from wealthier pensioners will save around £105 million year on year.