The Treasury is reviewing what benefits are being payed to the middle classes. The reviews are a part of the efforts to find where cuts should be made in spending. One such program is the winter fuel allowance.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was quick to remark in an interview with BBC that payment of those programs would continue to be available but future increases in the programs could be frozen in the future. No final decision has been made at this time.
One change option available involves raising the age at which a claim can be made for winter fuel allowance. The plan was to raise the age to 65 from 60 by the year 2020, but the Treasury could take the option to move it up much sooner. The current scheme costs taxpayers 2.7 billion pounds. The breakdown now allows anyone over age 60 to receive 250 pounds a month and anyone over 80 to receive 400 pounds a month.
Clegg said in his interview: “We are engaged as a government in a collective effort to get this right to both make savings to the welfare bill and to create a simpler, fairer welfare system that, above all, gets people into work.”
He added: “Sometimes I wish we could get the comprehensive spending round done in a day so that we could deal with all of the fears that are raised.
“It’s the middle of August. This is not going to be announced until October. And final decisions will only be taken much nearer the time.
“I think it actually increases anxieties in having this constant running commentary on decisions that haven’t been taken or might not be taken at all.”
For Labour, shadow work and pensions secretary Yvette Cooper said: “Winter fuel payments help many pensioners across the country. David Cameron has promised time and again that the Tories would protect them.
“But today we hear the work and pensions secretary is planning to cut this support that so many pensioners depend on. This is a shocking betrayal of pensioners.”