Winter fuel payments slashed

Cold Pensioner

Winter fuel payments for pensioners are set to be reduced by £100 in a secret cut Chancellor George Osborne has failed to mention in his 2011 Budget.

The winter fuel payment was previously given a top up by the Labour government, however the top up is set to expire in the winter of this year, and the Coalition will not be renewing it.

A government spokesman said: “Mr Osborne said live to the House of Commons in his spending review speech last year that the winter fuel payment will remain exactly as budgeted for by the previous government, which had said the temporary increase in the allowance would be allowed to expire from 2011-12.This was mentioned in probably the second most-scrutinised speech Mr Osborne made after last year's budget, so we couldn't have been any clearer about this policy.”

However such a move is undoubtedly going to be seen as a cut in the eyes of cash-strapped UK pensioners. Michelle Mitchell of the Age UK charity said: “We appreciate that the core winter fuel payment has been retained in the face of huge financial pressures, but with energy prices continuing to escalate, many older people will be very disappointed that the additional payments given since 2008 will not be renewed. Whilst the uplift was billed as a temporary measure, renewed annually, for those older people struggling to pay fuel bills this is a question of semantics, and they will view the measure as a cut.”