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More MPs join calls to means-test winter fuel allowance

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The Commons Energy and Climate committee has become the latest body to call for the winter fuel allowance to be means-tested.

In a report on energy efficiency, published today, the committee calls for the Government to focus on efficiency programmes to alleviate poverty instead of payments.

Winter fuel payments are a universal benefit of between £100 and £300 paid to pensioners and introduced by the previous Labour Government.

In the June spending review, Chancellor George Osborne scrapped the winter fuel allowance for expat pensioners living in warmer countries than the UK.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats both support restricting winter fuel payments for higher rate taxpayers.

The Conservatives have pledged to keep the universal payments for the rest of the parliament but work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has hinted it may change in the next general election manifesto.

Today’s report states: “We recommend that Government considers better targeting of the winter fuel payment through means-testing, considering how savings made could be used to boost investment in energy efficiency programmes.

“We also recommend that Government reviews the allocation of funds for fuel poverty policies, prioritising energy efficiency initiatives over provision of financial assistance.”

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