The latest quaint ministerial advice to old age pensioners

What should the “well-off” elderly do with their winter fuel allowances? According to one government minister, they should donate them to charity.
This brainwave (?? has been mooted for years) is the idea of Nicholas Hurd, MP for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner. The Eton alumnus and Oxford graduate who is also currently Parliamentary Secretary to the Cabinet Office, lists music amongst his hobbies. What a coincidence, there are two fabulously wealthy pensioners who both hail from Pinner – if they don’t actually live there anymore – who also share an interest in music. They are the incredibly talented Tony Hatch, who was apparently last seen eating his Christmas dinner on an exotic beach to the strains of Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport, and the somewhat younger and even more talented Elton John, who is said to be number 8 on the Sunday Times Rich List of music millionaires. Shocking isn’t it that people that wealthy are entitled to a fuel allowance? Best not ask about the Queen and that Philip bloke.
Having advised “well off” pensioners like Elton and ‘Er Indoors to give away their winter fuel allowances, it remains only for Mr Hurd to nominate a charity. How about choosing from this list? It’s a bit dated but assuming they each receive the minimum £100 current Winter Fuel Payment, it will take less than 760 such “well off” pensioners to pay the salary of the first CEO here. Assuming of course he hasn’t had a pay rise in the meantime, which is always a big assuming for those at the top of the earnings tree.

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Our Comment: The concerns with benefits that ‘wealthy’ pensioners get tax free is born out of the knowledge that many are avoiding paying tax where ever they can. Some argue that Bus Passes and Winter Fuel allowance are tax free to wealthy pensioners and should therefore be withdrawn for all, on the same basis one might as well argue that we should do away with income tax as a minority don’t pay tax on it as they should. But it is the tax avoidance that is the important thing to tackle, bearing in mind that State pensions are taxable, and the non wealthy have no chance of avoiding tax on it if their income exceeds the basic personal allowance.

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