Rishi Sunak grilled by Pat McFadden on social care
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In a poll of 1,366 Express.co.uk readers, held from December 9 to 14, a staggering 96 percent of voters said the Government should increase winter benefits for pensioners this Christmas. According to government data, around 10,000 Britons die every year because they live in a cold home.
One reader nicknamed ‘Pessimistic Miss’ said: “Our Government has shown nothing but contempt towards its Pensioners. I feel I should have to apologise for getting old! They have saved millions from the Triple Lock betrayal.
“Contrary to belief we do not all have second pensions, or apartments/villas abroad, nor do we live in the lap of luxury on the meagre pension we get. I’d like to see any of them manage on £179 per week – we should be getting a pension which equates to the National Living Wage, at least.
“Many of us left school at the age of 15 and went straight into employment. We worked hard and it was drummed into us to pay our taxes and NI stamp, and in return, we would be looked after once we retired… Well, thanks a bunch!”
Age UK has called for a new package of support, including a £50 grant to those eligible for Cold Weather Payments, and a big boost to the Household Support Fund that councils distribute to tackle fuel poverty in their areas.
Age UK charity director Caroline Abrahams said: “Keeping our older population safe and well should be a top priority for the Government this winter.”
Soaring energy prices could plunge 1.1 million of the poorest pensioner households into “fuel poverty”, unable to heat their homes without plunging below the poverty line.
Ms Abrahams said pensioners will be forced to choose between heating their homes or eating this winter.
She added: “Doing either is a potential risk to their health, especially if they are living with serious underlying health conditions.”
A pensioner couple under 80 will get £200 from the Winter Fuel Payment this year, a figure that has not increased since winter 2000/2001.
The Cold Weather Payment, paid to low income Britons during periods of very cold weather, has been frozen at £25 since 2008.
Similarly, the Warm Home Discount Scheme, a rebate for those on Pension Credit or low incomes, has stood at £140 since 2014/15.
Wholesale gas prices have soared by 250 percent since January due to shortages, according to industry group Oil & Gas UK.
Ofgem’s energy price cap increased by £96 in April and another £139 in October, taking the average household’s bill to £1,277 a year.
It could rise by another £300 next April, according to the Centre for Economic and Business Research, which would lift the average bill to around £1,600 a year.
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When asked if winter benefits should be increased, an Express voter going by ‘Mags33’ said: “Most definitely yes! I’m sick of all the attacks on pensioners by this lousy government!”
Another reader called the Chancellor “Rattle Snake Rishi” and said he “won’t give the pensioners anything, he hates pensioners”.
These comments come after the Chancellor expanded National Insurance to include working and earning pensioners in the tax hike, and abandoned the Tory manifesto pledge to protect the triple lock which ensures pensions rise to match the cost of living.
Referring to Boris Johnson and his Government, Prof David Younge said: “He has caused all his own problems by being an IDIOT! He allowed our triple lock to be taken away, and we the pensioners said we would make him pay! And we will do. For us its FOOD OR HEAT!!”
Another reader, Biro, added: “Giving us pensioners our free BBC TV licence back would be a good start.”
A Government spokesperson said it remains committed to protecting the most vulnerable and the new £500million Household Support Fund will help people with essential costs this winter.
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