Pensioners attack cut to winter fuel allowance

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THE Chancellor has been accused of betraying pensioners after it emerged he was cutting the winter fuel allowance despite rising energy prices.

The National Pensioners Convention expressed outrage that the government was scrapping the temporary increase to the winter fuel payment of 50 for households with a pensioner aged up to 79 and 100 for ones with someone aged over 80.

The additional payment was introduced in 2008/09 and was paid on top of the winter fuel allowance of 200 for those aged up to 79 and 300 for those aged over 80, which older people will continue to receive.

The group said it was also angered at the way the cut was "buried" in the documents released alongside the Budget and did not form part of George Osborne's statement.

Dot Gibson, NPC general secretary, said: "It's absolutely outrageous that George Osborne didn't have the guts or common decency to make this announcement public in his speech yesterday, but instead chose to bury it in all the paperwork.

"It's a shabby way to treat Britain's older generation. If we really are all in this together, why is he going to take 100 off the winter fuel allowance for the oldest members of society at a time when fuel bills are rising and winter deaths amongst older people are a national scandal?

"He should be ashamed of his behaviour."

The group said up to three million pensioner households were already spending more than 10 per cent of their income on energy bills and were living in fuel poverty. Nearly a third of older people live in homes with inadequate heating or insulation, and nearly 90 per cent of all excess winter deaths are of people aged over 65.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: "Winter fuel payments will continue to be paid. However, the temporary increase will not be paid this winter."