Iain Duncan Smith’s election present for the Golden Oldies: Bye Bye bus pass and fuel payments

Iain Duncan Smith's endangered species the free bus pass

Iain Duncan Smith’s endangered speciesthe free bus pass

George Osborne has made a lot of noise about how  pensioners  with spare cash are going to get  a fabulous deal under the Coalition – high interest pensioner bonds and the chance to spend, spend their pension  pot.

 All this is seen by political commentators as a  brilliant move by the  Chancellor to get the grey vote out for the Tories next year – with many of the measures timed for the election.

He also made it clear that pensions were going to be exempt from the new welfare cap – which will hit everyone else from lone parents, the disabled.and the working poor on housing benefit.

Sounds too good to be true for  the elderly. And guess what, it is.

Hidden in the specialist publication The House Magazine today is an interview with Works and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith by journalist Paul Waugh. And he asks: What’s your latest thinking about benefits such as winter fuel allowance and other universal, non-pension benefits for the elderly?

 The answer is : “The Chancellor has made it clear that they go into the [welfare] cap. So straight away they will be looked at in the same way as other benefits. Whether we have a specific view on those is a matter for the manifesto. It’s already very clear that they will be part of the overall balance of expenditure within the department for the benefit cap.”

So this broad brush promise on Budget Day is not true. Bus passes, TV licences, fuel payments, all available universally will join the rest of the benefits facing the chop.

What he doesn’t say – but everybody in Westminster  knows – is that the scale of cuts planned after the 2015 will make the last five years look like tiny by comparison. So it is my bet that we will see the end  of free bus passes and most fuel payments – because the size of cuts required will dictate it. And if you take the fact that Labour under Ed Balls is already committed to means testing fuel payments and the Liberal Democrats under Nick Clegg want to do the same to free bus passes. there is no escape.

And the poorer elderly  will find their social care all but disappear – as a fresh wave of local government cuts come into force.

Great policy from the coalition. Splash out your pension fund on a Lamborghini – but if you can’t afford to pay the full bus fares take up your zimmer frame and walk!

29 thoughts on “Iain Duncan Smith’s election present for the Golden Oldies: Bye Bye bus pass and fuel payments

  1. Reblogged this on Vox Political and commented:
    We should have been aware of this before – RTU (as some of us call him) made it clear that he didn’t want anything ring-fenced when it came to the next round of benefit cuts.
    As for “there is no escape”, what happens if – by some miracle – all the people behind these policies are voted out of Parliament?


  2. Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    Another piece demonstrating once again that yet one more Tory promise is actually a lie. Non-pension benefits, like the winter fuel allowance and bus passes are, according to IDS, to be included in the benefits cap, contrary to what George Osborne has promised at the budget, but not against what he’s said elsewhere. The take-home message is that nothing this government says about anything should be believed. And that whatever you think they’re doing, the reality is probably worse.


  3. How disgusting! This ought to be sent to every pensioner in the UK. Pensioners deserve a good pension, free bus passes, free prescriptions, free eye tests and glasses, free dental checks and dental work. They should also have the winter allowance which is a paltry £250 a year- less than what MP’s get in their expenses for heating per month!
    This government will get it’s comeuppance – each and every one of the coalition MP’s are in for such a shock at the next election!


  4. in the bleak mid winter I think rtu isn’t a man at all with all his imps they taking away oap bustickets heating and every thing else whot a party whot a man yet they allow banksters walk away freely awarding themselves still vast sums of money jeff3


  5. Pingback: Iain Duncan Smith’s election present for the Golden Oldies: Bye Bye bus pass and fuel payments | David Hencke | Kims Corner

  6. You missed something else. Pensions are not entirely exempt from the cap, in exactly the same way as disability benefits were not exempt from the uprating bill last year despite the government publicising the contrary.
    Only the basic element of pensions is exempt. Pension credit is included in the cap. For a poor pensioner this makes up roughly a quarter of your total pension.
    In other words if you are a poor pensioner, a large majority of the income you rely on will be in the cap: 25% of your pension, housing benefit, winter fuel allowance, attendence allowance, cold winter payments…


  7. You ARE aware that the State pension will rise from £5700 pa to £7600 pa?
    You ARE aware that this will apply to every OAP (ie married couples will get £15,000 and not £9152) – as now?

    You ARE aware that this means EVERY pensioner will be better off under the new scheme than under the present one (however daft that might be)

    You DO realise that the total cost of the State pension, which is totally unfunded – it’s all met from today’s tax and borrowing, unlike a private pension (ie there’s no ‘pension pot’ you build up over your working life) is around £175 billion pa?

    So, since HMG borrows around £100 billion pa (interest on the debt is itself £52 billion pa), the sensible thing to do would be to raise the ‘triple locked’ pension sum ( min 2.5% increase each year) in line with life expectancy – so index the payment date as well as the sum paid out.

    Now, the pension age in 1906 was 70, and this was reduced (for men) to 65 in 1945.

    So, if we use the latter age and had index-linked it since then, we’d now be getting our pensions, not at 65 (as now) but at …….. 89.

    So, the reality is that ID-S’ reforms are only 50% of the package – the second half of which is a sharp rise in the pension age to 80 by 2025 and to 100 by 2050 (over 50% of children born since 2000 can expect to reach 103). Life expectancy has been rising at an absolutely linear rate all the way back to 1840, so there’s no reason to expect it will do anything else over the next 170 years too.


    • YOU ARE AWARE that that huge increase in pension rates applies ONLY to new pensioners NOT existing pensioners who will continue to get the old rate – whether higher or lower than this. So there will be millions of people who would lose out if the bus pass was abolished and NOT gain a penny from the new rate. And they won’t be able to help by claiming Pension Credit – as another commentator has pointed out- that is to be included in the welfare cap.
      Also it is not our fault that successive governments have decided to fund pensions from taxation. The present law requires you to make NI contributions or you don’t get a pension at all – if they had kept this money and invested it there would no problem. So as far as I am concerned I have paid in for over 40 years, I am ENTITLED to get a pension and all the benefits that go with it.


      • Totally agree David.
        Besides the ConDems reneging on their word as to when the changes to the State Pension Age will occur MP’s have been given 10 years transitional protection against the changes to their pensions because, and I quote, “This protection strives to be fair to members who are close to their expected retirement age and are less able to change their plans than younger members”

        Those hundreds of thousands of us who were given just 18 months notice of the changes to the State Pension Law simply did not have any time at all to change our plans for retirement. What they have done to us is despicable.


    • then all the times they the governments dipped into that vast pot of surplus pensions monies always found its way into their robbing sprees yet not much on that when they tell you save, save, save for that day yet rob the pot jeff3


    • ” Life expectancy has been rising at an absolutely linear rate all the way back to 1840, so there’s no reason to expect it will do anything else over the next 170 years too.” Actually there is, and it’s that what passes for food these days, unlike what our grandparents ate, is mostly slow poison which is sending us to early graves. This effect hasn’t quite kicked in yet, but it’s there.


  8. before when pensions had abundance overflow of monies many governments plundered this and used it for themselves us plebbs they tell to start a pension pot for whot for them to plunder for a banksters to fiddle yes its a bleak mid winter from ossie the snorter


  9. Dead right about the pension pot. At 61 and having my pot plunderd by the greedy B*****ds insurance companies I will now take out what’s left and pay off my mortgage, . That will save £350 per month, much better than the annuity offer £55 . When it time to go into care and forcing the local authority to pay for it. I will sell up and and leave the kids the family pile.


  10. Yes, well, it’s all very well you old codgers arguing about your bus passes, but please spare a thought for those of us who will be impoverished pensioners stuck with adult children living at home until they are forty, paying off their student loans, all because some of you, in a weak moment, voted in enough power crazed libdems to prop up a Tory govt. How will they ever earn enough tax to support anyone’s pension?

    Have you actually ever been on a bus, Mr Hencke? I see you had to borrow Peter Person’s pass. I imagine he is keen to get it back, so he can get down the bingo for a quick half.


    • Is all very well for you Mrs Angry, I know you already have ordered your new Lamborghini for2040 and your kids will have a great future in the new Capita call centre being opened up in Kinshasa to handle Barnetr’s planning queries in the Congo – so they won’t need to stay at home at all. Stop moaning.


      • Mrs Angry cannnot drive, at least not in a manner approved of by the DVLA, but she does have an oyster card, which she pays for, unlike you old boys. Thought you went everywhere by bicycle anyway?

        Yes, good news about the offshoring opportunities, then hopefully they will stop coming home and moaning about my culinary failings. Sadly they have indicated an early entry to a retirement home for distressed bloggers is likely, so intend to spend everything before they can get their hands on it …


  11. Pingback: London 24h – UK continues mass experiment in human despair

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