Should OAPs' Free Bus Passes and TV Licenses Be Taken Away?
As it currently stands, pensioners in England and Wales automatically receive free bus passes, TV licenses and winter fuel - benefits put in place to protect the welfare of our older generations.
However, a debate is raging today about whether these benefits should be scrapped to promote 'intergenerational fairness'.
On Thursday the House of Lords Committee on Intergenerational Fairness and Provision asked the Government to 'take steps to deliver a fairer society' by supporting young people in the housing and employment market.
They also called on the government to support the younger generation for the coming 100-year lifespan by offering better in-work training.
As part of the report, entitled 'Tackling intergenerational unfairness', the Committee set out a range of recommendations to better the relationship between the older and younger generations.
As it stands, OAPs - that's citizens over the age of 65 currently - are eligible for free TV licenses. Instead, the Committee propose that TV licenses should be awarded by the government on a case-by-case basis based on household income.
Pensioners are also given free bus passes and winter fuel when they turn 65, a benefit the report suggests should be pushed back five years after State Pension eligibility.
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In addition, the report asked for the Government to consider having workers over the State Pension Age with higher incomes continue to pay National Insurance as they continue to work.
Among many other suggested policies, the report suggests training and learning should be continuous, in order to make sure old people are equipped for longer lifespans.
The Committee points out while age-based allowances were justified in the past in order to tackle pension poverty, many pensioner households are now better off than many working households in terms of income.
Some of the proposed changes sparked backlash by age charities. Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK, said afterwards: "We are pleased the Committee found evidence of continuing strong inter-generational bonds across our society, especially within families, and this reflects what we hear too."
She added: "Young people may well need more help but we disagree that this should be at the expense of the older generation.
"This underplays the extent of need among older people, and skates over the great difficulty of ensuring a targeted approach which actually reaches those older people who are the most vulnerable.
"All the evidence suggests that means-testing, for example, results in significant numbers of very poor older people missing out. More profoundly we reject the notion that helping younger and older people is an 'either/or'; in practice many at both ends of the age spectrum need our society's support and an advanced twenty first century economy like the UK is well placed to provide it."
Featured Image Credit: PA
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