David Cameron dodges question on cuts to winter fuel payment, prescriptions, bus passes and television licence
David Cameron today dodged a direct question about whether the Tories plan to start cutting winter fuel payments and free prescriptions, bus passes and television licences for better off pensioners.
The idea that the elderly should be the next group to share the pain of public spending cuts was raised by the Tory MP Nick Boles, a close ally of Mr Cameron, who it is thought may have been acting as an outrider for the Prime Minister, raising the idea to test the reaction.
Mr Cameron has ruled out any such cuts before a general election because of a clear promise he made during the 2010 campaign – but that does not rule out the possibility of introducing them if the Conservatives return to power in 2015.
The Labour MP Lillian Greenwood tried at Prime Minister’s Questions today to get Mr Cameron to say where he stands, by challenging him to “categorically rule out the means-testing of bus passes, including in his manifesto for the next general election.”
Mr Cameron replied: “At the last election I made very clear promises about bus passes, about television licences and about winter fuel payments. We are keeping all those promises.”
His ambiguous answer reinforced suspicions in Westminster that the Tories are thinking of means testing pensioner benefits. Nick Clegg has also hinted that it could be Liberal Democrat policy, when he told the BBC’s Andrew Marr last December: “We should be asking millionaire pensioners to perhaps make a little sacrifice on their free TV licence or their free bus passes.”
But that is not Lib Dem policy, and there would be opposition within the party of Mr Clegg tried to include it in their manifesto. One Lib Dem minister said today: “If David Cameron wants to pursue this policy at the next election, then that would be a clear dividing line between the parties.”
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
- 3 Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014: In defence of Mesut Ozil - the Arsenal midfielder works magic in the shadows
- 4 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Jennifer Lawrence face palms Emma Watson at Christian Dior show in Paris
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
Mick Jagger denies being World Cup curse and reason for Brazil’s embarrassing defeat
Gingers face extinction due to climate change, scientists warn
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
British jihadist calls for 'flag of Islam' over Downing Street and Buckingham Palace
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...
£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...