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Cut winter fuel allowance for majority of pensioners says MP
7:43am Thursday 3rd January 2013 in News
The majority of pensioners should see their winter fuel allowance cut to help fund a reformed system of care for the elderly, a former minister said.
Lib Dem MP Paul Burstow said targeting the allowance for all but the poorest of pensioners would help pay for a fairer system of state support for old age care.
Mr Burstow, a former care minister, said the move would help meet the cost of implementing the findings of the Dilnot Commission, which proposed capping the amount individuals have to pay for care during their lifetime.
In a report by the Centre Forum think-tank, Mr Burstow suggested setting the cap at £60,000, higher than the £35,000 proposed by the Dilnot Commission, saving the taxpayer up to £1.5 billion a year.
Currently, elderly people in England have to contribute to their own care costs if they have savings of more than £23,000.
The Centre Forum report suggested the costs could be met by ending the universal entitlement to winter fuel payment and granting it only to those receiving pension credit.
The report said: "The Government needs to be clear in its message that a reformed capped funding system is the most appropriate way of dealing with a broken social care system, a crisis that has lasted over 10 years."
It added: "The Treasury needs to grasp the 'best opportunity in a decade' provided by the Dilnot Commission, the goodwill expressed by the financial services industry and by care providers.
"Most importantly it should pay heed to the views of thousands of people who risk losing their entire life's work through having to pay for unexpected and unlimited care costs.
"The Treasury must understand that the care funding crisis is one which will only