Rich elderly should lose benefits, says David Cameron ally

A person sitting in room Reforming universal benefits for elderly people has been identified by Nick Boles as a way to make savings

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Wealthy pensioners should stop receiving free bus passes and prescriptions, an ally of the prime minister is expected to argue later.

In a speech, Conservative MP Nick Boles is set to urge an end to universal benefits such as winter fuel allowance and free public transport.

He wants such benefits to be means-tested after the next general election, in 2015.

David Cameron has said he will not touch the benefits in this parliament.

However, last month Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith suggested that commitment would be reassessed in the run-up to the election.

'Uncomfortable choices'

At an event organised by the Resolution Foundation think-tank, Mr Boles is expected to argue that older people must shoulder their fair share of spending cuts.

He will suggest the introduction of means testing for universal benefits such as free television licences for the over-75s is a viable approach.

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".

"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," he will say.

Mr Boles is also expected to say: "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."

Ahead of his speech, Mr Boles told BBC Two's Newsnight: "We live in an age when we face some really, really uncomfortable choices.

"Politicians have to be straight with people. None of us want to do any of the stuff that I have talked about. We would all love the ship to go rolling on as it has, people getting better off and the state to go on providing lots of stuff."

Mr Boles said it was "not possible" and "not honest" to believe that the current approach to benefits was sustainable where elderly people were concerned.

Geraldine Bedell, editor of Gransnet - a magazine for grandparents - said the problem was in deciding the "cut-off" point when determining eligibility for benefits.

"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.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 399.

    Before we cut benefits to pensioners who have paid into the system for their entire working lives, might it not be cheaper to cut the benefits we pay to the EU?

  • rate this

    Comment number 398.

    Once again, we see a system where those who has lived sensible, orderly lives, get financially penalized in favor of those who did not.

  • rate this

    Comment number 397.

    It is so easy too go at the old and vulnerable, have they not contributed to society in the past tense? Boles should justify his job and go after the real beneficaries like the Bankers who have gotten us into this mess,or perhaps he does not have the moral fibre to speak out against such immoral folk.

  • rate this

    Comment number 396.

    Surely we pay our taxes and Nat insurance to help run the country and look after those of us that really need it. All people I know who are over the age of 60 recieving these benefits, readily admit they don't need them and say they wouldn't be bothered if they lost them. Benefits should be for those that need them, not just because you reach 60 which in this day and age isn't actually that old

  • rate this

    Comment number 395.

    I won't bore you with my working life. Or how I have paid income tax, NI, and all the indirect taxes during my life. Nor how I have worked and saved to get a reasonable pension.
    Nope, all I will say is there are more pensioners than Mr Boles thinks and I believe he's just finished his political career.
    By the way if the Tories go with this it's another nail in there coffin, so toxic unelectable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 394.

    The Government has forced down retirement annuity values and has forced down pensioners interest income through low interest rates. Now Cameron's sycophant Nick Boles wants to confiscate their "free" bus passes, winter fuel allowance, and TV licences for over-75s.
    Nick, how about taxing big business and big earners who use tax avoidance schemes? And cancel any EU levy increase!
    Leave OAPs alone!

  • Comment number 393.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 392.

    Perhaps the MPs should have their pension benefits slashed too. I've contributed to both State and private pensions throughout my working life. I kept my part of the contract. Now the younger generation seem to want to back out of the deal. Don't blame the pensioners - blame governments who frittered away the pension contributions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 391.

    I started full time work in 1967... I have paid all of my working life in to a pension....which has been decimated by the actions of Politicians..NOW they are telling ME that I have to share the responsibility by losing some benefits...

    I've got some better ideas..

    Cost cut Parliament by getting rid of 25%...and cut the wages of the rest to the National Average Wage plus allowances .

  • rate this

    Comment number 390.


    How the hell do you know how benefit cheats vote? We have secretballots. I guess you belong to the school of 'must be true, everyone says it' hey?

  • rate this

    Comment number 389.

    We need to get away from this attitude of only giving help to those that in large part have lived it up and spent all their own money, thereby penalising good behaviours of saving. A very few have real life problems that stop them saving. Most just spend it away then hold out their hand later. This is grossly unfair to those that have saved. Universal benefits or none for all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 388.


    No they would be the ones trying to screw everyone like most aspirational Tories thinking themselves better than the rest. They are the Loud mouthed Know it alls a bit like they Harry Enfield Character and they are in the main Tory Voters running down genuine claimants whilst fiddling the system themselves and giving it a bad name.

  • rate this

    Comment number 387.

    I am a pensioner and can live with cuts provided the money goes to worthwhile causes such as keeping the heart hospital open in Leeds but not to spend on overseas aid. Billions to Afganhistan is a sin. This Government is crazy.

  • rate this

    Comment number 386.

    Giving "benefits" to millionaires is barmy and is why we are trillions in debt.

    No its not!

    In no way is that the cause. And the deficit is around £125 Bn, not trillions. The main cause was the 2008 bank crisis and if we were back at a pre 2008 deficit we'd be in a good position.

  • rate this

    Comment number 385.

    Should this not in fact work the other way round?!
    Those that have paid the most during their working lives should be entitled to these "benefits", whilst thos that have done nothing but leech on society and had "benefits" all their life up to retirement should actually start paying for them!

  • rate this

    Comment number 384.

    Here we go again - attack the elderly who have paid into the system for in the region of 50-90 years (single/married) whilst the feckless who won't work and get whatever benefit is available are left to carry on. Not only are they in danger of losing their homes to pay for care, now they want their benefits for which they have worked and paid!
    Moral; don't work or save, breed and p.... it up!

  • rate this

    Comment number 383.

    Our older aged members of society, by and large, have done an incredible amount to this country. They've paid their contributions, now it is only right that they enjoy some of the benefits. My father turns 65 next month and is still working, still contributing. Claim back all the tax avoidance from the super rich first and the multi billion pound companies, that's where politicians will find money

  • Comment number 382.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 381.

    Hahahaha shakygorilla!

    I'm afraid you're he idiot if you think you've paid for your own state pension! I'm give you a hint, just think how these things were started. Also many do recieve hundreds in winter fuel allowance. My nan gets £400 for example. I notice you didn't actually contradict my comment on NI either, just glossed over it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 380.

    Perhaps a salary reduction to all civil servants and public service workers earning over K100 would save considerably more money. This, with a reduction in the number of paid politicians at national and local level and a salary reduction for them too would be the way to go to get rid of public overspend.


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