Future generations of pensioners should get state pension but no extra benefits, Iain Duncan Smith warnsWork and Pensions Secretary insists handouts like winter fuel allowance and TV licence are safe for current pensionersBut 'next generation' will be encouraged to save to remove 'any extra dependence on the state'Coalition plans single-tier pension of around 155-a-weekLinking state pension age to life expectancy 'will mean working until 70'
Matt Chorley, Mailonline Political Editor
09:11 GMT, 8 January 2013
10:32 GMT, 8 January 2013
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, pictured arriving at Number 10 yesterday, said coalition reforms mean future generations would only need the state pension
The next generation of pensioners should not need to receive extra benefits like free TV licences and help with heating bills, Iain Duncan Smith suggested today.
The Work and Pensions Secretary left the door open to removing universal benefits in return for a single-tier pension and encouraging extra saving.
He repeatedly insisted David Cameron’s pledge to protect state help for all pensioners was only until 2015, and vowed to ‘detach’ older people from means-tested help.
Mr Cameron told pensioners before the last election that the Winter Fuel Allowance, bus pass, Pension Credit and free TV licence were all ‘safe’.
‘You can read my lips, that is a promise from my heart,’ he added.
Mr Duncan Smith insisted the commitment was ‘fair and reasonable’ because pensioners are less able to increase their income than someone in work and could then ‘plan for those five years'.
‘The problem with pensioners is they have less flexibility, they find it much less easy to make provision to change if things are changed for them,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
‘So you need to take more time and take longer over changes to pensioners.’
But he suggested that beyond 2015 new pensioners might not enjoy the same perks.
‘There’s a cohesive message which says for the most vulnerable people as possible we will try to protect them and for the next generation coming through to ensure that they make the kind of savings and provision that allow themselves to be taken above any extra dependence on the state whilst they receive a decent basic state pension.’
Nick Clegg and David Cameron launched the coalition's Mid-Term Review with a pledge to link rises in the state pension age with life expectancy
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has demanded the universal benefits for pensioners be reconsidered before 2015.
Mr Duncan Smith said: ‘If there are going to be any changes made as a
proposal those are the sort of changes that have to go into a manifesto.
But you would have to be talking about those in advance. We don’t make
plans for the next government at this stage.’
Aides said he was not speculating about the next manifesto.
we are trying to do is detach pensioners from the position of being
dependent on a means test which actually damages savings so we are
restoring the savings culture.
'But these things take time because there is basically a lifetime in work to provide for the time you are on pensions.
think its fairness to pensioners to give them time to make sure you
support their income but at the same time reform the way they save. The
last government damaged the savings culture so we had the worst savings
culture on record.'
A spokesman for Mr Duncan Smith said
later: 'Iain made it very clear this morning that we have protected all
the pensioner benefits for the whole of this parliament and there are
absolutely no plans to change that.'
Ministers are expected to set out details of an improved state pension 'that
rewards saving', with a new flat rate expected to be up to 155-a-week.
The coalition's Mid-Term Review, published yesterday, also committed to linking the state pension age with average life expectancy.
Campaigners warn it will mean making people work into their 70s.
'We will put in place a new mechanism to
ensure that the state pension age reflects future changes in life
expectancy so that the state pension system continues to be sustainable
and affordable,' the review said.
Public and Commercial Services Union said people in the UK could have
to work until they are 70 and beyond before receiving a state pension.
Gibson, general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention, said:
'Despite the warm words in the mid-term review, the coalition's plans to
reform the state pension system will end up making people work longer
but contains no pledge to give a higher state pension to existing and