Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Winter Fuel Payments - are they still "safe"?

Readers will recall that I wrote back in January that Winter Fuel Payments were under threat if the Tories got into power. I cannot take you to the original entry because I was asked to edit it by a Tory Councillor on the Wirral who took issue with me This is the revised version. But from memory I said the Tories would scrap the allowance which had been worth £2500 to date to pensioner recipients.

Other bloggers were encouraged to join in the debate, David Bartlett and Tom Morrison focussing not on whether the fuel allowance was under threat but on the fact that I had edited my entry after the challenge.

At the time, Cllr Ian Lewis said on his blog*

Utter rubbish and the last, desperate attempts to cling on by scaring some of the most vulnerable people into voting for you.

Let’s be clear: the Conservatives will not scrap the Winter Fuel Payment. Full stop.

Obviously Ian's comments were heartfelt and he really meant what he said. Sadly however it would seem that he, like us, may have been mislead. All the news outlets today are talking about Iain Duncan Smith wanting to get tough with universal benefits, maybe tapering them, changing the age at which they become applicable etc. And Nick Clegg seems to be somewhat supportive of this move, if his reported comments today are anything to go by.

So it seems the "Full Stop" may have been more of a "comma" - to be followed by the words "or at least not until the October spending review and after that it is anyone's guess".

I hope reports are overly pessimistic today and that the allowance is still safe.

*It is interesting to see that Ian's blog has been depoliticised. It had been quite firmly associated with the Conservative Party, bearing the Tory logo etc but these have been removed. The only reference now is at the foot of the page and a statement reads "This is the website of Steve Smith and Councillor Ian Lewis. We are working on many of the issues in Moreton and Leasowe, putting our community first and Party politics second." I wonder how many other Tories and LibDems in the North of England have begun to move away from their Party colours in this way?

1 comment:

scouseboy said...

Winter fuel payments: pensioners are about to take a big hit.
Tax credits and family allowance; ordinary working families also about to take a big hit.
And thats just for starters. Cameron/Clegg/Osborne are more extreme and draconian than even Thatcher was.
The fib dems are finished both in Liverpool and nationwide.