In March this year the coalition announced cuts to the Winter Fuel Allowance in 2011. The yearly tax-free payment to help people pay for their heating in the winter was worth £250 for the over 60s, and £400 for the over 80s. However the cut reduces the payments to £200 and £300 for the two groups in the winter of 2011-12.
While the system is a farce with ex pats receiving the payments despite living abroad and financially comfortable pensioners also qualifying for payments, there is no doubt a large number of vulnerable elderly people need these payments to ensure they can afford some of the rapidly rising cost of heating their homes in the increasingly cold winters. Which is why cutting the payments on cost grounds is reprehensible.
But there was absolutely no need to cut the allowance because the payments are completely affordable. It’s just that this grandstanding bunch of self serving politicians put the interests of the people they are paid to represent below their desire to appear virtuous on the world stage. Don’t take my word for it, see the evidence for yourself:
David Cameron announces plan to treble aid to Pakistan’s education system to £650m
David Cameron announces new £814m donation boost for vaccination programmes in poor countries
And so to that Commons written answer. While there are people who will make compelling cases for these donations being made rather than spent on our own deserving poor, let someone try to defend this (click to enlarge):
These aren’t the actions of a development superpower. These are the actions of a group of rich and privileged people who treat the people they have been elected to represent with utter contempt.
When elderly and vulnerable people in the UK die of hypothermia this coming winter, because they live in properties they cannot afford to heat, the responsibility will rest with a political class that has shown it values the lives of poor people overseas more than the lives of poor people in our own country… people who have long paid into the system to get just the kind of support they are now being denied, all because of some idiot’s wet dream of saving the planet from carbon dioxide.
There must be a reckoning.