Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 21°C

min temp: 17°C

Search

Suffolk: MP Therese Coffey rejects calls for winter fuel payments to be means-tested

PUBLISHED: 17:44 03 January 2013 | UPDATED: 13:38 04 January 2013

MP Therese Coffey has rejected calls for winter fuel payments to be means-tested

MP Therese Coffey has rejected calls for winter fuel payments to be means-tested

Archant

KEY figures in Suffolk have rejected calls for winter fuel payments to be means-tested.

Lib Dem MP Paul Burstow proposed targeting the allowance for all but the poorest of pensioners to help pay for a fairer system of state support for old age care.

Mr Burstow said the savings would fund reforms by the Dilnot Commission, which is proposing a £35,000 cap on the amount individuals have to pay towards their social care.

Currently, elderly people in England have to contribute to their own care costs if they have savings of more than £23,000.

But Mr Burstow’s idea has been rejected by both Suffolk Coastal MP Therese Coffey and Stephen Singleton, chief executive of The Suffolk Foundation.

Dr Coffey, a Conservative, said her party should stick to its election pledge and maintain the winter fuel allowance as it currently stands. And last night David Cameron backed that view, confirming he was sticking to his guns and keeping the payments.

The Suffolk Foundation, in partnership with the East Anglian Daily Times, has raised more than £50,000 this year by asking people, if they can afford it, to donate their payments. The money from the campaign, called Surviving Winter, is used to help the vulnerable stay warm.

Mr Singleton said: “There’s already a mechanism in place all over the country where people can reallocate their winter fuel allowance and help people.”

He added the cost of setting up the means-testing of winter fuel payments would offset any benefits.

Dot Gibson, general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention, said: “It’s a shame that someone didn’t buy Mr Burstow a calculator for Christmas - because if they had he would have realised that his plan just doesn’t add up.

“Introducing a means-tested system will create a costly and inefficient bureaucracy which evidence shows will result in those who need it most failing to come forward to make a claim.

“Our social care system doesn’t need this kind of tinkering at the edges - but a radical overhaul. Taking money from pensioners who are trying to keep warm this winter on just over £10,500 a year will only create more fuel poverty and ultimately lead to more older people dying from the cold.”

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Police are due to announce an update on the search for missing RAF gunner Corrie McKeague this afternoon.

A man in his 50s has been airlifted to hospital in a critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest at the Stoke Park Asda store in Ipswich.

Art and design students at One sixth form in Ipswich gained inspiration from one of Banksy’s collaborators during a special session at the University of Essex.

Scores of aspiring sleuths descended on Suffolk police headquarters to investigate what it takes to become a detective.

Premiership football star Peter Crouch has had an amusing exchange with an ITFC fan on Twitter – after being mocked for his looks and goal scoring prowess.

Certified puppy breeders have spoken out over a hard-hitting new report which names Suffolk and Essex as illegal puppy farming hotspots.

Engineers have started drilling under the River Orwell as part of a £30 million scheme to boost power supplies in Suffolk and Essex.

Historic Suffolk home with air-conditioned garaging for a private car collection, at Denham. It could be yours for £1.385m.

Police have launched an investigation into a suspected murder at a home in Cumberland Avenue, Bury St Edmunds.

A £3.8million funding boost has been given to the NHS in Essex and Suffolk for three major projects.

Most read

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24