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No10 deny pensioners at risk of losing winter fuel allowance under potential plans to pay for triple lock | The Sun

NO10 today denied speculation that Rishi Sunak could scrap the winter fuel allowance for all but poorest of pensioners.

The move, claimed earlier this afternoon to be under consideration, would free up finances so the PM can commit to the pensions triple lock at next year's showdown general election.

The controversial pensions guarantee could cost the Treasury an eye-watering £9bn next year.

But ministers believe binning it would be an electoral death sentence.

Today No10 categorically denied considering watering down winter fuel allowances.

What is the winter fuel payment?

The winter fuel payment is an annual tax-free benefit designed to help with heating costs through the colder months.

Most people who are eligible get it automatically like if you receive the state pension or benefits.

However, you won't necessarily qualify just because you claim housing benefit, council tax reduction, child benefit or Universal Credit.

If you do meet the criteria but don't automatically get the winter fuel payment, you will have to apply on the government's website.

You'll qualify for a winter fuel payment if both of the following apply:

  • you were born on or before September 25, 1956
  • you lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of September 19 to 25, 2022 in what is known as the "qualifying week"

If you did not live in the UK during the qualifying week, you might still get the payment if both the following apply:

  • you live in Switzerland or a EEA country
  • you have a "genuine and sufficient" link with the UK social security system, such as having lived or worked in the UK and having a family in the UK

A Government spokesperson said: “That is not something we are going to do.”

The winter fuel payment is an annual tax-free benefit designed to help with heating costs through the colder months.

Millions of pensioners were eligible to claim up to £600 this year under the scheme.

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The cash – which is dished out to the elderly – was boosted to give those on low incomes between £250 to £600.

In 2017 the Tories under Theresa May tried to introduce means testing for the payments.

But it was decided that the process of means testing was extremely complicated and expensive.

Labour at the time said it would lead to 4,000 excess deaths each winter.

Responding to the idea of means testing, Liberal Democrat Work and Pensions Spokesperson Wendy Chamberlain MP said: "Scrapping the winter fuel allowance would be a slap in the face for pensioners facing soaring energy bills this winter.

"Rishi Sunak must be living on another planet if his thinks this is the answer to the country's problems.

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"Pensioners have worked hard and paid their taxes all their lives, they shouldn't be made to pay the price for the Conservative Party crashing the economy."

The Lib Dems have vowed to double the Winter Fuel Allowance, paid for through a windfall tax on the oil and gas giants, if they come into power by propping up a Sir Keir Starmer led coalition government.

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