April 4, 2012

UK: Two million pensioners face cuts to vital benefits

LONDON, England / The Daily Mail / Money / April 3, 2012

Why did we spend our lives saving?

By Lauren Thompson

Almost two million pensioners are facing a cruel trap that threatens to deprive them of the biggest ever rise in the state pension and vital .elderly benefits.

Savage cuts to Pension Credit for pensioners who saved for their retirement have all but wiped out what Chancellor George Osborne boasted was the ‘largest-ever cash increase’ in the state pension, which takes effect this week.

And the cuts risk barring hundreds of thousands of pensioners from vital discounts, council tax and housing benefit, cold weather payments, and help with heating costs from energy suppliers.

The change has come as a shock to many pensioners who received the news in letters from the Department for Work and Pensions revealing their state pension for the new tax year.

It comes just a fortnight after the Chancellor announced changes to pensioners’ tax allowances — the so-called ‘granny tax’ — which could leave pensioners on incomes of little more than £11,000 a year £323 worse off.

Michelle Mitchell, director-general of charity Age UK, says: ‘It is unfair that older people on low incomes are having their benefits reduced. 

‘The Treasury is giving with one hand and then immediately taking with the other.’

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