Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has vowed to protect the ‘triple lock’ on state pensions but says wealthier pensioners would lose their winter fuel allowance, under plans to be included in the Party’s 2017 general election manifesto.
Winter fuel allowance is a tax free payment of up to £300 a year paid to older people over the age of 65, regardless of wealth or income.
Under the plans announced today, it is estimated that around 600,000 pensioners with incomes above £45,000 a year would lose their winter fuel allowance, saving the treasury around £105 million.
Mr Farron said: “We are looking again at universal benefits paid to the wealthiest pensioners because money should not be paid to those who do not need it.
“We need to help those in need and on middle incomes and not help the super-rich.”
Commenting on the Party’s commitment to the ‘triple lock’, Mr Farron added: “The Liberal Democrats believe that an important test of a civilised society is the way in which it cares for the elderly.
“We will protect the triple lock, unlike the Conservatives.
“The guiding principle of the pensions system must be to ensure that none are left unable to meet their basic needs for survival and participation in society, and that everyone is treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.
“The message is clear: we will help pensioners and the Conservatives won’t.
“A Lib Dem pensions minister introduced the triple-lock guarantee to protect the state pension during coalition.
“We delivered on our manifesto commitment to increase the basic state pension by whatever is highest out of CPI inflation, average earnings or 2.5 per cent.”
Labour has promised to protect both the triple-lock on state pensions, meaning state pension would rise to £122.30 a week by 2020, and winter fuel allowances for wealthier pensioners.
Meanwhile, the Conservatives have so far refused to rule out scrapping the ‘triple lock’ and don’t appear to have said anything about so-called ‘pensioner perks’.