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Tories propose to scrap winter fuel payments for all but poorest pensioners to fund social care

PUBLISHED: 22:30 17 May 2017

Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Prime Minister Theresa May. Picture: NICK BUTCHER

Archant © 2017

The Conservative party is set to propose scrapping winter fuel payments for all but the poorest pensioners.

The money saved by cutting the benefit will fund a social care overhaul.

If the Tories are returned to government, they will means test the controversial payment which has up until now gone to all pensioners regardless of wealth.

Details of the plans will be included in the Conservative manifesto. Other key proposals on social care will include:

• Putting the home into the means-test for care meaning people’s assets are treated equally across residential and domiciliary care

• A capital floor of £100,000, below which assets will be protected from social care costs. This is four times the current level of £23,250

• Promising no-one has to sell their home within their lifetime, or the lifetime of their surviving partner to pay for care costs

In the foreword to the manifesto Theresa May also addresses Brexit claiming the coming years must “bring us together as a united country”.

She says: “Brexit will define us: our place in the world, our economic security and our future prosperity.

“People are rightly sceptical of politicians who claim to have easy answers to deeply complex problems. It is the responsibility of leaders to be straight with people about the challenges ahead and the hard work required to overcome them.

“Above all, it will require a unity of purpose stretching across this precious union of nations, from north to south and east to west. For as we embark on the momentous journey ahead of us over the next few years, our shared values, interests and ambitions can – and must – bring us together as a united country.”

The policy will be seen as another lurch towards centrist Labour voters unhappy about the direction of their party under Jeremy Corbyn.

Details of how the means testing will work and any financial cut-off point is not yet clear.

The benefit was introduced in 1997 to tackle fuel poverty among the elderly. Currently the payment varies from £100 to £300 and more than 12 million people are eligible.

Suffolk Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter campaign, backed by the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star, encourages people to donate their Winter Fuel payment to help others who may struggle to afford to heat their homes in the winter.

The Surviving Winter campaign is also run with support from the East of England Co-operative Society and Ipswich Building Society, and the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Warm Homes Healthy People project.

According to the Office for National Statistics, almost 30,000 households in Suffolk live in fuel poverty, with many suffering in silence during the coldest months.

The Surviving Winter campaign, now in its fifth year, has raised more than £310,000 and supported more than 850 households during the harshest winter months.

11 comments

  • I have been writing tonight on a proper news website (the type that does not ban comments because they don't agree with them or because the moderators have very little intellect) and have noted quite a shift away from the Tories. The manifesto has upset many groups, especially the elderly, and may tilt enough away from the Tories to stop them winning or reduce their majority. I think the Tory Manifesto makes Ipswich a VERY marginal seat and urge those who usually do not bother to vote to look at the key points of the manifesto and vote against the Tories. Perhaps you will do it just because you care about animals and do not want the Tory MPs to do what their rich chums want and vote for the re-introduction of fox hunting and all the cruelty it involves. Getting rid of Gummer will be a bonus.

    Report this comment

    Johnthebap

    Thursday, May 18, 2017

  • You got it wrong crusader and no I don't like corbyn either, his ideas are barking mad , sorry to disappoint you . I voted to leave the EU and voted for an independent at the local elections . I live in dr dans area now , so a Tory MP will get re elected and I'm sure May will be the PM , there's no party I would back at this election , so like millions of others I will not vote . Once we leave the EU and labour get a new leader I might return to my labour roots who knows ?

    Report this comment

    Macke

    Thursday, May 18, 2017

  • Macke - The use of PFI was very limited until 1997 but became widespread under the new Labour government. (from wikipedia) it WAS invented under the Major government but hardly ever used and only used in exceptional circumstances. It was Labour that brought it into the NHS in 1997. Also you are wrong about 'losing your house'. Currently the country will take all your assets to pay for care until you only have £23k left, this is being increased to £100k. I thought you would have wanted the better off to pay for the care of the less well off but it seems that all you actually want to do is blame 'the tories' for everything.

    Report this comment

    Crusader

    Thursday, May 18, 2017

  • PFI were introduced by john major , used heavily by Blair and others since . Nice to see the tories go back on their word the triple lock is now a double lock , winter fuel payments gone for most and if you've worked hard to save and buy a lovely house hand it over to the Tory government when you die so they can give the money to those poor countries .Stuff our sick and disabled too , tax them give it abroad . Still they will be voted in come what may.

    Report this comment

    Macke

    Thursday, May 18, 2017

  • amsterdam81 - It was not 'the tories' that brought in PFI it was Tony Blair and his Labour cronies. PFI is the main reason so many NHS Trusts are in debt as they are struggling to keep up the repayments. FYI - The Garret Anderson centre at Ipswich Hospital cost just over £20million to build yet the trust will end up paying over £100million during the lifetime of the contract. The mantr of 'the tories killing off the NHS is so 1980's - the world has moved on since then !

    Report this comment

    Crusader

    Thursday, May 18, 2017

  • Pensioners get most of the NIC pot do they? Well maybe that's because they put the vast majority of the money in and were promised some return on it when they got old. As for the Winter Fuel Allowance it is a silly idea best ditched and not means tested. But remember, it was a piece of snide from that horrid Oh My Gawd its McBruuin chancellor person, to distract attention from some other piece of trickery he was up too. The fact that the allowance will be means tested rather than abolished altogether is a sign that May will be a tinkerer rather than a reformer and the rules on welfare will get more complicated and ridiculous and it is all being done for political expediency rather than social principle. Mind you I do find the payment handy. I spend the entire amount on booze for the Christmas hols but I am willing to sacrifice it for the greater good.

    Report this comment

    Gobby

    Thursday, May 18, 2017

  • If private, mainly foreign, power companies didn't rip everyone of us off winter fuel allowance would not be an issue. How about solving more problems at source rather than inventing down stream fixes. Who thought privatisation a good idea? Wasn't it the Tories that first introduced PFI and has since tried to pass the blame onto others? Economics does not seem to be their strongest suite yet they continue to blame every one except themselves for each crisis.

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Thursday, May 18, 2017

  • So a step backwards, and only those on income related benefits (like Pensions Credits), will get the Winter Fuel Allowance (WFA)? It was paid to all pensioners to recognise the fact that they were the ones usually at home all day during the winter, and therefore faced the biggest fuel bills. Working families are usually out during the day and their homes left unheated. A few extra thousand deaths each year due to hypothermia obviously won't concern the Tories. But I guess even this latest raid on pensioners won't deter the turkeys from voting for Christmas.

    Report this comment

    Driven Roundabend

    Thursday, May 18, 2017

  • Hanzi - doesn't seem to like pensioners; but may become one someday...'facts' heshe quoted are nonsensical! FNUTboy - a great name, well chosen... It's a shame about the political claptrap spouted! I'd be happy to forfeit my fuel allowance for this purpose.

    Report this comment

    The Main Man

    Thursday, May 18, 2017

  • Means testing the winter fuel payment will probably cost more in administration than it saves, it's a red herring. Telegraph 2962014: 'Andy Burnham says Labour should embrace a system where people pay as much as a 15 per cent levy on their estates to pay for people's care in old age . Labour has resurrected plans for a 15 per cent “death tax” to pay for people’s care in old age.'.....and the governments reply, 'Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, said that pensioners “deserve better” than a “secret tax bombshell”.'..........it'll be interesting to see Mr Hunt's and the Telegraphs opinions now, maybe a Tory 'Death Tax' is OK? Hypocrites.

    Report this comment

    fnutboy

    Thursday, May 18, 2017

  • Look into the "triple lock". Pensioners are the worst thing to happen to the British economy. People groan about "scroungers" and such, but pensioners are literally taking about 80% of all national insurance contributions.

    Report this comment

    Hanzi_Pollock

    Thursday, May 18, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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