The possible forfeiting of pensioners’ perks

25 Jun 2019


Successive governments have failed to give better-off pensioners the option of redirecting their universal benefits towards poorer families of working age (“Well-off pensioners should forfeit their perks”, James Kirkup, Jun 24). The government’s aim should be to retain a universal TV licence exemption for over-75s, as well as a universal winter fuel payment. This is the most effective method of ensuring those pensioners in need of support continue receiving it.

However, as part of each scheme, arrangements should be made for those who wish to do so to be given the option of contributing sums on a voluntary basis, equivalent to what they would have received in exemptions or allowances, into a national fund that pays for less well-off families of working age either to gain exemption from licence fees or to receive help with their fuel bills. I have failed to persuade ministers to pursue this objective but am hopeful that Will Quince, the new junior minister at the Department for Work and Pensions, will bring the reforming zeal he showed as a backbencher into government.

Frank Field, MP
House of Commons