Pensioners are now 'richer than 40% of population'

Government expenditure directed at pensioners has 'soared by 60%' meaning the average pensioner is now 'richer than 40%' of the population', according to figures cited by the Institute of Directors.

The claims came in response to shadow chancellor's proposal to reduce winter fuel allowance for wealthy pensioners.

Over the past fifteen years government expenditure directed at pensioners soared by 60% in real terms (i.e. after inflation). The median pensioner is now richer than 40% of the population. It would be wrong to exempt better-off pensioners from the sacrifices demanded of working families.

Meaningful reform would also means test other universal pensioner benefits like TV licences and free travel. Ed Ball’s plan would target £100 million in savings, which will have a negligible impact on the welfare budget.

– Simon Walker, director general of the Institute of Directors

Mr Walker said that if Labour is serious about achieving 'iron discipline’ over the public finances, it cannot limit itself to a 'token tweak' to the winter fuel allowance, which represents a 'drop in the entitlement ocean'.

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Balls: Cut fuel benefit for rich

Labour would axe winter fuel payments for hundreds of thousands of the UK's richest pensioners if they were in power, the shadow chancellor Ed Balls has said. He also promised an "iron discipline" on spending.