The Treasury confirmed today that their "fairness" campaign doesn't stretch to the old and infirm by dramatically slashing their winter fuel payments. In a shocking move aimed directly at the most vulnerable people in our society the Government will cut the winter fuel payment by £50 for people over 60 and an unbelievable £100 for people over 80.
What makes this action more despicable is that George Osborne didn't have the bottle to announce this cut in yesterday's Budget, instead it was slid in under the radar in an announcement back in November – Disgraceful!!
The winter fuel payment is a tax-free benefit on an annual basis to people over 60, regardless how much they earn, to help with fuel payments during winter. In 2008 the Labour government introduced an additional top-up fuel payment to help pensioners battle rising fuel bills. It is this additional payment that the Government, despite energy bills still rising, have axed. George Osborne has today claimed that all he is actually doing is allowing the temporary additional top-up to lapse, as laid out under the previous Labour government's plans. But however he dresses it up it is still a conscious decision to allow the benefit to lapse and not be totally upfront about it.
What makes this even more shocking is that it comes just months after the big 6 energy companies have hiked their prices again and days after Ofgem have given these same companies a slap for unfair practices. Why isn't George Osborne tackling the root cause of the problem instead of attacking the old?
Now, I know the amount of this reduction is merely a bottle or two of vintage champagne to some of Mr. Osborne’s old chums but it's a matter of living or dying of hypothermia to thousands of elderly men and women.
Shame on you Mr Osborne, shame on you!!!