Top Tory says many pensioners don’t want winter gas cost in leaked recording
A Tory minister floated the concept of stripping some pensioners of economic assist with their heating payments, a leaked recording exhibits.
John Glen informed a Conservative gathering at Cambridge University final month that his aged mom was “perfectly comfortable” and did not want the winter gas cost, which helps older folks with their power payments. Mr Glen, who was Chief Secretary to the Treasury on the time, steered the cash could possibly be higher spent assuaging little one poverty however mentioned rationing the monetary assist can be “very difficult”.
People born earlier than September 25 1957 can get between £250 and £600 to assist with their power payments by the winter gas cost, which was launched by Labour in 1997. A Government spokesman denied there can be adjustments on this week’s Autumn Statement, saying: “That is not something we are going to do.”
But in a recording from October 26, obtained by the Daily Telegraph, Mr Glen questioned the Government’s place that each one pensioners must be eligible for assist with their payments moderately than simply essentially the most needy. He mentioned: “I believe we additionally want to return to phrases with the truth that the triple lock may be very costly and the way sustainable is that going ahead by way of pensions and all the opposite advantages?
“Because my mother, she’s not very rich but she’s perfectly comfortable. She just texted me today aged 75 to say ‘I’ve just heard about my £500 winter fuel payment’ and I’m just like ‘you don’t need that’.
“But finding a mechanism to try and ration that [the Winter Fuel Payment] is very difficult because our HMRC system will look at household incomes. These are the sorts of mechanics of government you’ve got to look at. Is it better if we spent more of that money on child poverty? It probably is. But these are the sorts of things I think we need to look at.”
His comments also come amid speculation has been mounting over whether Rishi Sunak will maintain pension triple lock in its current form. The policy, which was a Tory manifesto commitment, puts up the state pension each April in line with whichever measure is highest of inflation, average wage increases or 2.5%.
Today, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Gareth Davies said there were “no plans” to reduce the number of pensioners eligible to receive winter fuel payments. He told Sky News: “We are usually not going to be touching the winter gas allowance.”
Pressed on whether he was ruling out means testing the benefit, he said: “We don’t have any plans to alter the winter gas allowance. But we’ve got a powerful file of supporting pensioners so we’ll at all times stand by our pensioners to make sure they’ve a dignified retirement and safety in retirement.”
It comes as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt weighs up cutting working-age welfare payments for millions of people in Wednesday’s Autumn Statement. Ministers traditionally use September’s inflation figures when uprating working-age benefits, which would mean a 6.7% hike. But Mr Hunt has not ruled out using October’s figure of 4.6%, which economists say would slash spending by billions.
The Chancellor failed to stamp out speculation of personal tax cuts ahead of Wednesday, telling the BBC he needed to place the UK on “the trail to decrease taxes” but would “solely accomplish that in a accountable method” that did not “sacrifice the progress on inflation”.