Cameron ally wants fewer benefits for wealthy pensioners
10 July 2012
Conservative MP Nick Boles is to recommend that well-off pensioners should be stripped of their entitlement to a free bus pass and prescriptions.
Mr Boles, thought to be close to Prime Minister David Cameron, is set to propose that universal benefits such as winter fuel allowance, free public transport and free television licenses are means tested after the next general election.
He thinks older people should shoulder their fair share of spending cuts.
In a speech to the Resolution Foundation, an independent think tank, Mr Boles will describe a need to "find further savings from the welfare budget" to "achieve stability in our public finances and make crucial investments in improving productivity and competitiveness".
He will say: "If we are going to protect spending on pensions - as we should - equity between the generations requires that these cuts cannot only fall on adults of working age.
“We need to acknowledge now that we will not be able to continue the protection of these other benefits for better-off pensioners after 2015.”
Prior to his speech Mr Boles told the BBC that it would be dishonest and unrealistic to assert that the current benefits system for the elderly was sustainable.
But Geraldine Bedell, editor of grandparents’ magazine Gransnet, said that deciding the cut-off point for eligibility would be problematic.
"We know that whenever you have means testing you get a cliff edge and very often the wrong people fall off the cliff," she said.
David Cameron has pledged not to touch pensioners’ benefits during this parliament, however Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan-Smith has said that they may be reassessed in the lead-up to the next general election.