Cameron pledges to protect pensioner benefits

23 February 2015

Speaking ahead of the General Election in May, Conservative leader David Cameron has unveiled his manifesto for the over-50s, which promises to protect pensioner benefits.

The Prime Minister today outlined his manifesto promises to Britain’s over 50s at a gathering of Saga customers in Hastings, East Sussex.

The Conservative leader pledged to keep the commitment he made in 2010 to protect pensioner benefits, which include winter fuel payments, free bus passes, prescriptions, eye tests and television licences, for as long as he was in office “no question”.

He also promised to keep the triple lock guarantee that maintains the value of the state pension against inflation until at least 2020.

This was, he said, to ensure that Britain was a place that offered everyone “dignity and security in old age”, the fifth “theme” of the conservative manifesto in the run up to the general election in May.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to watch a video of David Cameron's speech. 

Read more about the benefits you might be entitled to in retirement.

A discerning audience

Mr Cameron was speaking at a Q&A event hosted by Saga Magazine.

Lance Batchelor, CEO of Saga, the over 50s specialist company, described his customers as: “A thoughtful, savvy and discerning group of people… our political representatives are wise to listen to their concerns.”

Mr Cameron clearly agreed: “If you’ve worked hard during your life, saved, paid your taxes, done the right thing, you deserve dignity when you retire.

“This comes back to the type of country our long-term economic plan is building: a country where you get something for something, not something for nothing, where if you put in, you get out. And no one has put in as much as our elderly.”

He added: “These people have fought wars, seen us through recessions – made this the great country it is today. They brought us into the world and cared for us, and now it’s our turn – our fundamental duty – to care for them.”

A clear commitment

During the 2010 election, the Conservatives promised that they would not introduce means testing for pensioner benefits. This policy has come under fire from Labour and the Liberal Democrats who have both said that they will remove benefits from the wealthiest pensioners.

Cameron said: “In 2010, I looked down the barrel of the camera and made a clear commitment to the British people that I would keep these things. And that wasn’t a commitment for five years – it was a commitment for as long as I was Prime Minister.

“So yes – we will protect the Winter Fuel Payment, free bus passes, TV licences, prescriptions and eye tests again. No question. And, as we do, I want older people across this country to know this: for all the decades you’ve toiled, for the years you’ve done the right thing – for the rest of your days you will have dignity and security.”

Are you missing out on benefits you are entitled to?

Pensioner benefits of huge importance

Paul Green, Saga’s Director of Communications, welcomed the pledge. He said: “We are delighted that the Prime Minister chose a Saga event at which to announce the Conservative Manifesto commitments for older people.

“There appears to be much in today's announcement that will appeal the Saga generations.  A recent Saga Populus survey of some 10,000 over 50s indicated that pensioner benefits were of huge importance, with widespread opposition to giving them up or paying tax on the value of the benefits (free prescriptions - 85%, eye tests - 75%', bus pass and winter fuel allowance - 59%,  TV licence - 51%).”

The Conservatives' manifesto pledges to…

  1. Reward those who have worked hard by continuing to increase the State Pension through the triple lock.

  2. Reward saving by introducing a new single-tier pension.

  3. Give people the freedom to invest and spend their pension however they like - and let them pass it on to loved ones tax-free.

  4. Give everyone the help they deserve in later life by protecting pensioner benefits, including the free bus pass, free TV licence and winter fuel payment.

  5. Ensure Britain has a strong economy, so we can protect the NHS and make sure no-one is forced to sell their home to pay for care.

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