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Tuesday 10th July 2012 | 00:01
Nick Boles MP press release
Leading Tory moderniser, Nick Boles MP, calls for end to Winter Fuel Payments, free prescriptions, free bus travel and free TV licenses for better-off pensioners from 2015 to help ensure the government can do more to help working people achieve rising living standards in the future.
In a major speech to the independent think tank, the Resolution Foundation, he will call on the Coalition government to make tough choices about future public spending that prioritise productivity and competitiveness. He will also challenge the Labour leadership to reveal which taxes they would raise to reconcile their public spending pledges with their declared commitment to deficit reduction.
He will say that although difficult politically, older people must shoulder their fair share of spending cuts in order to ensure equity across the generations.
Looking ahead to the forthcoming Spending Review, Mr Boles will set out the Conservative argument for how to tackle the living standards crisis in an era of prolonged austerity. This will involve the Chancellor only permitting growth in public spending on programmes that have a clear impact on the productivity of working people. New public spending commitments should be ruled out altogether unless they can be funded entirely by diverting spending from other existing programmes.
Mr Boles will make the following recommendations:
* end non-pension benefits (Winter Fuel Allowance, free bus travel, free prescriptions and free TV licenses for the over 75s) for better-off pensioners in 2015
* Defer a decision on full implementation of Andrew Dilnot's solution to the future funding of social care until the next Comprehensive Spending Review, and be clear that it should only go ahead if sufficient savings can be achieved through the integration of health and social care or through changes to benefits for older people
* cut an additional £10.5 billion from welfare bills by 2016/17
* Find a better way to support good parenting of young children than the 'demonstrably ineffective' Sure Start programme that costs £1.1 billion a year
Mr Boles will argue that both parties in the Coalition have demonstrated their readiness to take unpopular decisions in the national interest and will challenge the Labour leadership to explain which taxes they are going to raise to fund their spending commitments.
Mr Boles will say:
"If we are to achieve stability in our public finances and make crucial investments in improving productivity and competitiveness, we must find further savings from the welfare budget. And if we are going to protect spending on pensions - as we should - equity between the generations requires that these cuts cannot only fall on adults of working age. We need to acknowledge now that we will not be able to continue the protection of these other benefits for better-off pensioners after 2015."
"The Coalition is going to be confronted with some very hard choices on public spending - in government the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have already shown that we are willing and able to grit our teeth and take unpopular decisions in what we believe is the national interest. Is the current leadership of the Labour Party willing and able to do the same? We know what cuts Ed Miliband and Ed Balls oppose but very little about those they support. We know what further spending they would like to see but very little about the taxes they would raise".