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AIBU to think that winter fuel payments should be means tested?

(88 Posts)
PandaSpaniel Tue 16-Oct-12 21:32:27

Winter fuel payments (not to be confused with cold weather payments) are payments that are not means tested to anyone born before 1951. Am I missing something here???

If a person has a child under 5 living with them they have to be on a benefit and it has to be very very cold before a payment is given to them.

The Government keeps harping on about cutting benefits, well here is a good idea Slash the funding for keeping oldies warm unless they are on a low income. Why are we paying for people who are more than likely abroad in the winter months????

Oh wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that the majority of Tory voters are older would it?

thekidsrule Tue 16-Oct-12 21:40:06

i used to think it was unfair,but i can also see that some pensioners who have worked hard and managed to save into a small pension them thinking that they should get something out of all them years of work

im not talking mega wealthy old folk,just normal everyday pensioners

thekidsrule Tue 16-Oct-12 21:45:58

but this tread will turn into a bun fight as i dont think ive ever seen a "benefit" thread of soughts never end up in a fight grin

PandaSpaniel Tue 16-Oct-12 21:49:31

I see your point but in the current economic climate I really do think it should be means tested. I find it really unfair that the Government is targeting disabled, single parents, working families etc etc but not targeting older people as that's where most of their votes come from.

Call me cynical....

CackleMeIAmYours Tue 16-Oct-12 21:51:36

Interesting fact: The cost of this benefit to the Treasury is almost exactly the amount raised from Tuition fees.

Ergo, if it were scrapped, and the money invested in Universities instead, then nobody would have to pay tuition fees.

It'll never happen though, Pensioners are a lot more likely to vote than younger adults, so governments are ridiculously wary of upsetting them. This is despite the majority of them having benefited hugely from the housing bubble.

Not sure that means testing would work though, this is very expensive to implement which would probably negate any benefit.

imperialstateknickers Tue 16-Oct-12 21:52:03

I do agree with you Panda. Even though a lot of older people on reasonable incomes aren't actually abroad for winter, and a substantial number don't vote Tory. You'll get further with your argument if you don't sound quite so strident and sarky.

<collects up a pack of buns, pours wine and sits back to enjoy the fun>

CackleMeIAmYours Tue 16-Oct-12 21:54:59

x post Panda . I agree

Only 10% of our welfare bill actually goes on income replacement benefits so the 'scroungers are bringing the country to its knees' argument is almost entirely spurious.

42% goes on pensioners - the majority of which are non-means tested.

thekidsrule Tue 16-Oct-12 21:56:20

believe you me there is plenty i think the goverment could crack down on (the rich and big companys) well before the man in the street

but tory history tells me this wont happen

slightly of topic but i do think next year when their policies really bite there is gonna be one hell of a backlash as so many people still have little idea whats coming into force and how this will effect them

bad times ahead for many shock

bureni Tue 16-Oct-12 22:00:02

There are British citizens who live abroad permanently in places like Spain who receive a winter heating allowance in their U.K pension, these payments should be stopped simply because they do not need any form of heating let alone a heating allowance.

frankensteinspenis Tue 16-Oct-12 22:00:57

Definitely should be means tested. I know of quite a few cases where the money should not be given out. What happens to the money if they go into hospital or old peoples home?

PandaSpaniel Tue 16-Oct-12 22:03:27

I for one am only too aware that my time is limited on benefits which is why I am desperately trying to get at least one college course out of the way before Universal Credit comes into play for me. Then at least I stand a chance of getting a decently paid job. Too be honest as a single parent I am bloody petrified.

And if I sound sarky I don't mean to be but I hate the tories, simple as that. Don't think the other parties are great either but the Tories seem to have it in for anyone who wasn't blessed to be born into a higher earning family.

PandaSpaniel Tue 16-Oct-12 22:04:09

Anyway baby needs feeding, I will check back tomo, night all

FlibberdeGibbet Tue 16-Oct-12 22:04:47

I agree - means tested. It seems that the young seem to be taking a battering from this Govt (tuition fees / scrapping EMA / no housing benefit for the under 25s / changes to school travel arrangements / means testing child benefit), yet benefits for the elderly are apparently untouchable. Winter fuel, and free TV licences should be means tested, if we are indeed "all in it together", as Mr Osborne is so fond of telling us... or are we all in it together, apart from the Tory-voting demographic, who are hanging back from the edge!

AgentProvocateur Tue 16-Oct-12 22:07:43

My understanding - and it could be wrong - is that it would cost more to administer the means testing than it would to give the allowance to everyone over a certain age.

Mind you, I'm sure I read the same argument about child benefit...

sillymummy11 Tue 16-Oct-12 22:08:50

I think they should be means tested. For example. My dad has been getting it now for 3 years. He works part time and receives an occupational pension, bringing his wages to full time equivalent very decent wage. He lives with my mum in a 3 bed warm insulated house with no mortgage and they own three cars between the two of them. I live in a 2 bed cold damp house, with my 3 kids, can't afford to purchase/run a car and of course get nothing when it's cold apart from an enforced day off work when the schools are closed that I then have to work back/take as holiday!

I work with quite a few over 60's...I think it should be means tested or restricted for say over 70's.

FredFredGeorge Tue 16-Oct-12 22:08:59

It's a terribly inefficient and unfair benefit. The government shouldn't collect tax from the rich, simply to give money to the rich, it make no sense. Tax should be collected and given to those who need it.

However means testing the benefit is silly, it should just be got rid of and those that need it should get more. Targetted benefits like this are pure vote grabbers and very inefficient for any real gains.

YABU to blame the tories though - it's from the previous government and it's already been reduced in favour of other means tested benefits. Yes it would be better to abolish it, but it would've been even better had it never been introduced, and look at the problem the tories had with adding means testing to another previously universal benefit - child benefit.

Rich people vote, and too many rich people like getting benefits, it means creating universal benefits is much easier than getting rid of them.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Tue 16-Oct-12 22:17:45

Why are the Tories getting the blame for winter fuel allowance? It was brought in under labour because there were a lot of old people freezing in their homes because they couldn't afford heating. It was needed, and presumably, the then Labour government considered means testing, but didn't.

Now that fuel is becoming so expensive, I think it would be very unfair to take this money away from old people. The ones who really don't need it can give it to charity or put it into the economy.

Hotcoffeeisamemory Tue 16-Oct-12 22:23:46

Regardless of who brought in the winter fuel allowance, it won't be means tested as that age group are the main voters.

monkeysbignuts Tue 16-Oct-12 22:28:44

sorry but I agree with the op.
My grandparents get this every year, they are 99 & 95 BUT & its a big but they don't pay any gas or electric bills in their sheltered accommodation! Its all inclusive. This money they get just goes straight into their bank & they get the top band because of their age. How is that fair?

Mrsjay Tue 16-Oct-12 22:28:51

the winter fuel allowance has been about for years nothing to do with the Tories I guess if an elderly person has paid in to a system why not get something back , Gloria Hungerford was backing a scheme last year where richer older people donated their payment to Help the Aged, I thought that was a kind thing to do,

whathasthecatdonenow Tue 16-Oct-12 22:48:11

There is a problem with means testing benefits for pensioners in that many who are entitled then miss out because they either can't or won't claim (sometimes due to a sense of pride, sometimes due to a genuine belief that they don't 'deserve' it, or a failure to understand the system). So although YANBU to think it should be means tested, in reality it would probably not be for the best. I don't want to see news reports of elderly ladies suffering from hypothermia in their own homes.

I think it is important that we don't do DC's work for him by turning on each other - £10bn more in welfare cuts is going to lead to serious hardship, and a sense of solidarity is going to be important if we want him gone.

thekidsrule Tue 16-Oct-12 23:06:05

i hate all these gimmicks,fuel allowance,bus pass etc etc

the administration with all these must be massive

shame in a perfect world there couldnt be a adequate state pension and then people could decide how to spend their own money without having to apply for these top ups,im sure most pensioners could and do bdget very well

Toombs Tue 16-Oct-12 23:10:57

Don't means test it, make it optional. A pensioner can opt to not claim it.

Viviennemary Tue 16-Oct-12 23:14:59

YANBU. I think it should be means tested. Up to at least the age of 75. I think the money could be put to better use.

Redbindy Tue 16-Oct-12 23:23:30

Means testing it would probably end up costing more than it saved.

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