Poll: Should pensioner benefits be protected from cuts?

David Cameron.

David Cameron. - Credit: Archant

Pensioner benefits will continue to be protected if the Conservatives win the general election, David Cameron will pledge today.

Universal winter fuel payments, free bus passes and television licences will be shielded from cuts in a repeat of the promise the Prime Minister made ahead of the 2010 poll.

Mr Cameron has faced pressure from within the Conservatives to abandon the policy, which has seen wealthy pensioners benefiting while millions of other welfare recipients have faced dramatic reductions in state help.

Labour has previously said it would strip winter fuel payments from the richest 5 per cent of pensioners and the Liberal Democrats would means-test the benefits.

But the Prime Minister will say it is 'wrong' to call the perks a luxury.

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'Say that to the older woman who can keep warm tonight on this cold February evening, because she's been given the money to heat her home,' he will say in a speech.

'Or the widower heading into town on the bus, doing his shopping, seeing people for the only time that week. Or the bedbound lady whose whole day is brightened by the TV, or the sick man whose pain is kept at bay.

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'Comfort, independence, companionship, health - these aren't luxuries; they're what people who have worked and saved all their lives deserve. And think what we would give up if we did take them away - the principle that if you've done the right thing, you will get the benefits of living in Britain.'

Mr Cameron will add: 'If you've worked hard during your life, saved, paid your taxes, done the right thing, you deserve dignity when you retire.

'These people have fought wars, seen us through recessions - made this the great country it is today. They brought us into the world and cared for us, and now it's our turn - our fundamental duty - to care for them.'

'In 2010, I looked down the barrel of the camera and made a clear commitment to the British people that I would keep these things. And that wasn't a commitment for five years - it was a commitment for as long as I was Prime Minister.'

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