Cut benefits for wealthy pensioners, says MP Nick Boles

Nick Boles

Nick Boles

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STAMFORD and Bourne MP Nick Boles wants benefits for the elderly, such as bus passes and prescriptions, to be means tested.

Mr Boles will reveal his views, which also include cutting winter fuel payments and the loss of free television licences for wealthier over 75s, in a speech to independent think-tank the Resolution Foundation.

Mr Boles wants means testing to be in place after the next general election in 2015.

In his speech, he will say: “If we are to achieve stability in our public finances and make crucial investments in improving productivity and competitiveness, we must find further savings from the welfare budget.

“And 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.

“The coalition is going to be confronted with some very hard choices on public spending - in Government the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have already shown that we are willing and able to grit our teeth and take unpopular decisions in what we believe is the national interest.

“Is the current leadership of the Labour Party willing and able to do the same? We know what cuts Ed Miliband and Ed Balls oppose but very little about those they support.

“We know what further spending they would like to see but very little about the taxes they would raise.”

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

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

Do you agree? E-mail your view to the newsroom.

Or join the debate on our Facebook page. Louise Manchester has already commented. She said: “I think the government needs a total re-haul on all their benefits. There are so many people that could take a cut or made to earn their benefits by giving something back to the community. There are a lot of pensioners that are on the breadline and need the money badly but I do think it should be capped.”

Reader John Widden e-mailed the newsdesk to comment: “I would like to comment on Nick Boles ideas on cutting benefits for wealthy pensioners. Once again we see politicians taking from people who have worked all their lives just to see their small perks like free bus passes and prescriptions confiscated. The real problem in this country is the tax dodging rich who are getting out of contributing their fair share by various accountancy fiddles. Of course our MPs are involved in that themselves which is why they keep sweeping this issue under the carpet.”

Allan Cheesman e-mailed: “Another nail in a Tory MP coffin! He doesn’t seem to realise the power of the grey vote! Having contributed taxes for over 40 years I cherish what I and like minded pensioners have earned which should not be taken away by MPs of whatever persuasion.”

Roberta Britton of Morton wrote: “It seems, he does not define “better off” and leaves people with a small additional pensions fearing how they will manage. It seems to be part of this government’s policy to use fear as a means of control.”