Rich pensioners will lose their free TV licence along with free bus passes, prescriptions and winter fuel payments, according to proposals from a Conservative MP expected to be announced later today.
Nick Boles, Conservative MP for Grantham and Stamford, is aiming to axe free TV licences in a bid to save cash and balance the deficit.
Boles is aiming for a ‘bonfire of the handouts’ for pensioners who could easily afford to pay for licences and bus passes themselves. The free state handouts to pensioners is said to cost a total of £5 billion a year.
According to The Guardian, Boles will say in the report that: “It would be irresponsible for any government to suggest that the taxpayer should assume an additional unfunded burden worth 0.2% of GDP in 2021/22 (or roughly £3bn in today’s money) – and equally irresponsible to impose new taxes on hard-pressed working people to pay for it.”
Means testing for milk snatching?
Under the proposals it’s thought that means testing will take effect from 2015 onwards to determine whether or not pensioners should receive free handouts.
Geraldine Bedell, editor of Gransnet expresses concerned that the “cut off” point will be too low. Speaking to the BBC, she said: “We know that whenever you have means testing you get a cliff edge and very often the wrong people fall off the cliff.”
Until the finer points of report are known, it’s impossible to tell how low the margin will be. Whatever the proposals, it’s not expected them to take affect until the next Parliament at any rate.
Boles wants the government to delay a decision on a previous report, as the government prepares to publish its social care white paper on Wednesday.
Andrew Dilnot’s report recommends a cap of £35,000 as an amount that individuals have to pay towards care costs in their lifetime and that the state should help with care costs if an individual has savings and assets below £100,000.
Whether Nick Boles’ proposals are taken on board or not, the Digital Switchover will have been completed long before 2015. At least these proposals wouldn’t take effect when the last few were still struggling to get digital TV set up.