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Monday, 23 February 2015

Labour and the Lib Dems attack Tory plans to ring fence pensioner benefits

The Liberal Democrats say that the working age poor will pay the price under the Conservatives' plans to ring-fence pensioners benefits. The Conservatives plans which have been put forward today by David Cameron, while on the campaign trail in Hastings. Mr Cameron's proposals include protecting all universal pensioner benefits such as the winter fuel allowance and free TV licences.

Alternatively the Liberal Democrats say they believe in creating a fairer society. They say their plans include removing the winter fuel payments and free TV licences from the wealthiest five per cent of pensioners.

Commenting Liberal Democrat Pensions Minister Steve Webb said: "The working age poor will pay the price for the Conservative ring fence for the very wealthiest pensioners. The Conservatives are proposing £12bn of welfare cuts which is the equivalent of a £1500 cut for eight million people. By ruling out any changes to benefits of wealthy pensioners they are showing their determination to balance the books solely on the backs of disabled people and the working age poor." 

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Rachel Reeves, also criticised David Cameron's announcement saying that: "David Cameron’s government has let millions of pensioners down, failing to act on rising fuel costs and rip off pension fees and charges. Pensioners will find it hard to take pre-election promises seriously from a Prime Minister who has introduced the granny tax, increased VAT, and caused the Tory NHS crisis which has damaged social care services."

Ms Reeves also said what the alternative she was proposing: "Labour has a better plan for pensioners. We will support the triple lock, freeze energy bills and ensure savers are protected against pension rip-off pension charges and mis-selling. As part of our plan to get the deficit down in a fairer way, we will stop paying the winter fuel allowance to the richest five per cent of pensioners and reverse David Cameron’s tax cut for millionaires. Accusations that we will end pensioner benefits are simply untrue."