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Labour sets out plans to means test winter fuel allowance

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Shadow chancellor Ed Balls will unveil plans to scrap winter fuel allowance payments for wealthy pensioners in a set piece economic speech at Reuters today.

Balls will say the move will save £100m from ending the benefit for 600,000 pensioners who pay the 40p and 45p rates of income tax.

The winter fuel allowance is a tax-free payment of between £100 and £300, depending on age, paid to all pensioners.

Chancellor George Osborne is due to deliver his second spending review later this month where he is expected to unveil a fresh round of spending cuts.

Balls will say he has a “clear timetable” for reducing the debt and deficit and will demonstrate an “iron discipline” to spending if Labour is elected in 2015.

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Comments

There are 11 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Wow! A policy commitment, and it only took 3 years!

  2. Why not just tax it? How stupid to talk of means testing it. It was given in the first place instead of a rise in the basic state pension…

  3. What Balls doesn’t say is it will cost £50, 000, 000 to implement the changes and another £150, 000, 000 to administrate each year.

  4. @Anonymous | 3 Jun 2013 9:20 am

    There’s lots that Balls doesn’t say that is relevant and long overdue.

  5. Why commit to policies more than 2 years before the next election?

    Let’s face it, 2 years before the last election Osborne and Cameron were still happily sticking to Labours spending plans….

  6. oh dear oh dear oh dear

    We are borrowing £150 BILLION a year

    National debt now exceeds £1 TRILLION

    and Balls comes up with a cunning plan to save £150 million

    you could’nt make it up

  7. For anyone that’s interested. Here’s the full text. The lack of humility is breathtaking but at least he does acknowledge of the need for the cuts to continue beyond 2015. I already knew that because I can add up. The faithful won’t be too pleased though…….

    http://www.labouremail.org.uk/emails/11171/2/15/292191/7801/03991910e3f8c0c0b955f28bad3b74cb/

  8. Anonymous is quite right however what is important is that a politician has dared to mention reducing retirement benefits. I agree this proposal is just a drop in the ocean but now they may move on the state pension itself. Regardless of how we got where we are or who caused or let it happen we must reduce public spending. We can no longer afford to pay the state pension to pensioners who pay higher rate tax. The sooner that is explained and understood by all the better.

  9. Julian Stevens 4th June 2013 at 9:32 am

    Personally, I don’t see why government assistance with heating bills for the less well-off members of society shouldn’t be means tested.

  10. Let’s get it straight. As I understand it he wants to tax HRT Pensioners winter fuel allowance. The allowance is in fact only £100 per person. This will raise £150million thereby saving 0.01% of current Govt. spending of £720billion. P.a.

    Then I wonder what happens to those currently over 60 who are still working, receive the benefit and are HRT payers. Then they retire and become Basic Rate payers – presumably then he will turn the tap back on. And of course let’s not forget that the astute have managed their tax affairs by investing in ISAs and Bonds which don’t appear on the tax return – so they could well have an income of (say £60 – £70k p.a, but a taxable income of (say) £25k. This in fact could be EACH (Husband and wife). How long one wonders before the Westminster spivs start messing with ISAs and bonds?

    As usual this is Balls’ and Milliband looks on in awe.

    Don’t we just have a bunch of bright sparks in Westminster!

  11. Here is a better idea
    copied from the FSA/FCA
    government should take all of our money and give us back a little at the end of each month.

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