The government is right to squeeze more from themby David Lipsey / May 18, 2017 / Leave a comment
No more winter fuel allowance! No triple lock on my state pension! At 69, if I was looking to my own interests, nothing would be more likely to send me to the polls for Jeremy Corbyn than Theresa May’s manifesto hit on the elderly. As a peer I do not have a vote but I do have an opinion: and two measures announced today—means-testing winter fuel payments and committing to a pensions “double lock”—seem to me to be in the national interest.
It is a hard change of mindset for those on the left but it has to be said. Most elderly people are not poor. Most poor people are not elderly. Many (I am one) have houses that have soared in value; mortgages paid off or nearly so; private pensions from a more expansive era; and ever-diminishing needs to buy things, as the things we already have will see us out. So to give non-means tested benefits to pensioners to a large extent transfers resources to the “haves.” The taxes to pay for them—currently £2bn for the winter fuel allowance—likely hits the less well off as well as Corbyn’s fat cats. With state expenditure bound to remain constrained, it makes good sense to save money on these inessentials.