Call to means-test benefits for older people

Older people need to shoulder a bigger share of public spending cuts, according to an influential Conservative MP.

Nick Boles is reported to have played an important role in drafting Tory policy plans before the 2010 election. In a speech on living standards and public spending, Boles called for older people’s universal benefits to be means-tested by the next government (after 2015). These include free bus passes, health prescriptions, winter fuel allowance and television licences.

Boles explained that at least a further £8.5 billion needs to be cut from the £145 billion social security budget, on top of cuts already planned. Further cuts should be concentrated on benefits that do not help people improve their skills or get back into work. That means targeting housing benefit, child tax credit and child benefit, as well as benefits for older people.

Source: Speech by Nick Boles MP, 10 July 2012
Links: Speech | BBC report | Daily Mail report | Guardian report