An analysis of government data suggests that UK Chancellor George Osborne will not be able to achieve the goal of limiting welfare spending without cutting special benefits to pensioners.
Research by the Social Market Foundation has shown that the main expense in welfare spending in the next five years will be the growing number of elderly people entitled to a pension and the universal benefits such as winter fuel allowance and free TV licences.
Meanwhile, UK Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to protect such elderly benefits, aware that they are important to the upcoming elections. In fact, the decision to raise most benefits by a below-inflation 1% and changes designed to stem the rising cost of disability benefits take effect on Monday.
Furthermore, pensioner benefits and debt interest are set to cost even more in the years ahead – leaving Osborne with tough decisions as he oversees the spending round scheduled for June 26.
Angus Hanton, co-founder of the Intergenerational Foundation, a charity that campaigns for fairness across the generations, calculated that the UK government’s pension liabilities amount to more than £200,000 for each UK household – “so the question is not whether young people will reject this burden, but when”.
“Pensioners are treated as a protected species but as a group they are dependent on younger workers – Mr Osborne is taking a slash and burn approach to working age benefits in order to isolate pensioners from the real world.”