Winter Fuel Payments - Fixed

Monday 12th November, 2012
Lots of debate in the news lately about Winter fuel payments for the elderly. Apparently they've been cut, some are saying they should be axed altogether. On the other side of the argument, we're told that 25,000 people die each year from being cold.

It's a tricky argument as not all pensioners are affected. Some have loads in the bank and don't need the benefit. Some even have loads in the bank and still won't turn the heating on. No matter how much you give them as a hand out, it won't encourage them to turn the heating on.

Took me about 2 minutes to come up with a fix, the news bulletin hadn't even finished on ITV.

Kill the winter fuel payments...completely. Save the government a load of money. Nobody gets paid cash they don't need, or for heating they may not turn on. At the same time, introduce legislation on the energy companies to make them reduce the winter bill for qualifying pensioners by the same amount. e.g. if we currently give pensioners a £50 pay-out for winter fuel, then make the energy company take £50 off their next bill in Winter.

We all know the energy companies coin it in, especially from pensioners who don't really understand the complicated tariffs and discounts available from changing supplier. They're all just happy to sit with British Gas like it's still some nationalised company. It's not...and, under my proposal, Centrica would be paying out £50 for every pensioner on its books.

So we save the government money, pensioners still get their benefit and we impose an indirect "tax" on the utility companies.

Perfect solution? I think so.

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