Tuesday, 10 July 2012

10 reasons why Tory MP Nick Boles should think again before bashing 'well-off' pensioners

Nick Boles
'Well-off' pensioners face being stripped of some or all of their additional State benefits after the 2015 General Election, if David Cameron's MP pal Nick Boles has his way.
Boles has his sights on free prescriptions, travel, the winter fuel allowance and free TV licences of the over-75s; and it is hard to make a case that wealthy OAPs should enjoy these extras.
But there are aspects of the law of unexpected consequences,  which MPs should consider before they jump on the granny-bashing bandwagon.

1. Means-testing the benefits sends out the wrong message, because it penalises those who have spent a lifetime saving for their old age.
2. On the subject of saving, pensioners are being punished by next-to-zero returns as a direct result of current interest rate policy. Labour's mismanagement, spendthrift borrowers and incompetent bankers have forced the Bank of England to artificially depress savings rates.
3. Means-testing is expensive and inefficient in its nature. It's a pity Boles isn't as concerned about those pensioners, who, for whatever reason, do not receive their full benefits entitlement.
4. Much will depend at what income level  OAPs are considered to be better off. Having established the principle, you can bet the screw would be tightened in future years.
5. Once again it will be the squeezed middle not millionaire pensioners who will feel the pain.
6. Different rules will apply in Scotland and Wales underlining the unfairness of the proposals.
7. Scrapping free prescriptions will deter some elderly from visiting their GPs leaving hospitals to intervene when illnesses become expensive emergencies.
8. Enforced belt-tightening on pensioners will leave them less money to spend in the high street.
9. It will also see them less able to help their children and grandchildren financially.
10. Boles should stop looking at well-off pensioners as a breed apart. When they die their wealth doesn't evaporate. It is distributed - with the State taking a chunk.
He would be well advised to have a look at the benefits, subsidies, and goldplated pensions that MPs continue to enjoy despite many of them being caught with their hands in the till in the expenses scandal.


  1. Daily Telegraph: 11/07/2012. Property: The UK retired population [taken as a whole] has mortgage free housing assets alone, of over £750 billion.

  2. I think you may have missed GC the most important implication of Nick Boles's remarks. Here is a very right wing Tory advocating an extremely socialist policy of "soak the rich". Actually it is more subtle than that even. His remarks imply awareness by some of his party that under recession the UK is very quickly becoming an unfair society. The rich will have to sacrifice somthing is a semblance of public services are to be retained in the many lean years to come.

  3. Boles' aim is to address the deficit without raising the overall tax burden; I doubt retaining public services is on his agenda. GC


What do you think? GC