Wealthy OAPS benefits row
A Government minister has called for benefits to be axed immediately from wealthier pensioners.
Don Foster, the newly appointed Local Government Minister, called for the move as Nick Clegg suggested removing winter fuel allowance and other benefits from the elderly rich would be party policy at the 2015 general election.
Mr Foster told BBC 5 Live: "It's not yet Liberal Democrat policy, it's something we'll work on. But you know, if there is something that can be done now then we need to get the economy moving now, not just to put it in a Liberal Democrat manifesto for 2015.
If we can get something like this implemented now, then that would be better."
But Vince Cable said there was "no question" they would be cut within this Parliament: “Nick Clegg was absolutely clear that under this government, in this parliament, there’s absolutely no question of going anywhere near universal benefits for pensioners.
"In particular the state pension is absolutely protected and we’ve strengthened it, but equally those specifics benefits that you mentioned are protected, there’s no question of doing that. Though it may be an issue at the next general election, about the way the three main parties campaign on those issues – that’s what Nick was trying to describe – certainly this government is not going to touch those benefits.”
Mr Clegg has to date said any changes to benefits like free bus passes and the winter fuel allowances would be considered in the next Parliament 2015. Speaking to Nick Robinson, the Deputy Prime Minister responded to Foster's call: "Don Foster is entitled to his own opinions."
"He’s wrong and it’s not going to happen in this Parliament, and I cannot stress enough that what I mean is people, who are very wealthy indeed, receive off millions of ordinary taxpayers across this country free bus passes, TV licences and Winter Fuel support; even though they frankly don’t need it."