Winter Fuel Allowance should be rolled into state pension

by Dr. Ros Altmann

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Rather than scrapping Winter Fuel Allowances and other universal pensioner benefits, why not just incorporate them into the Basic State Pension? Instead of being accused of abolishing them, Government could claim to have made them permanent. This would have many advantages such as saving administrative costs, improving fairness, bringing in extra tax revenue and - most importantly - improving the state pension to a more decent level. Why pay and administer so many different extra benefits, while the Basic State Pension itself is so inadequate? It wastes money, undermines private saving and still leaves too many pensioners in poverty. Or would sensible pension reforms be too much of a shock to our system?

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Ros Altmann
London School of Economics governor
c/o 9 Fairholme Close, London N3 3EE

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