Benefit cuts: Are pensioners next?

Pensioners could find themselves targeted for benefit cuts in the next Conservative manifesto, Iain Duncan Smith has suggested.

The work and pensions secretary left open the possibility of moves against the elderly after days of buildup to today’s Commons vote on deep cuts to welfare spending for those of working age.

Over half of the annual £200 billion spent on benefits is spent on pensioners, but they have been spared any of the pain of austerity after the 2010 Tory manifesto pledged to protect them.

“Nobody is going to be demonised on my watch who is a pensioner,” Duncan Smith told the Today programme.

“I think it’s fairness to pensioners to give them time, to make sure you support their income, but at the same time to reform the way people save.”

His comments suggested that the elderly could be in line for cuts in the Conservatives’ manifesto for the next parliament.

Duncan Smith added: “The problem with pensioners is they have less flexibility – they find it far less easy to make provision if things change for them – … so you have to take far more time. We are restoring the savings culture [for pensioners] but these things take time.”

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