It is extremely worrying and confusing to see that, on one hand, Prime Minister David Cameron says there are no plans to change the benefits paid to pensioners – ie, cold-weather payments, bus passes, etc – yet Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith seems to be saying the opposite.
On Radio 4, Mr Duncan Smith says Mr Cameron would not make any changes prior to the next general election because pensioners needed to come to terms with news like that and make plans to deal with it.
From these comments, it appears something extremely unpleasant is looming should the Tories win at the next election.
This alarming idea is apparently shared by the Liberal Democrats, who want benefits like these means-tested to better target resources, and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which claims this would save the Exchequer £1.4 billion.
We are all aware that the country is, indeed, in a parlous financial state, but surely savings could be made by reducing the amount we pay into the European Union, fighting in unwanted wars and doling out cash in overseas aid, rather than further penalising those less able to fend for themselves and who need the help and compassion of government, irrespective of hue.
Charity does, indeed, begin at home.