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David Cameron has insisted he will protect the Winter Fuel Allowance against means-testing in line with his election promise.
The Prime Minister was speaking after former Care Minister Paul Burstow called for an end to universal benefits for pensioners to fund a cap on people’s elderly care costs.
And this afternoon Mr Burstow’s successor Norman Lamb urged the Treasury to “get on with” introducing legislation imposing a cap, but he played down the idea of limiting pensioner benefits to pay for it.
Mr Cameron also ruled out an end to the Winter Fuel Allowance, saying: "I made a very clear promise at the election which was we would keep the winter fuel payment alongside the other pensioner benefits as they were, and that’s a promise I’m keeping."
In a report for the thinktank CentreForum, the Liberal Democrat MP Mr Burstow said the move could fund most of the £1.7bn needed for the changes recommended in Andrew Dilnot's report on care funding.
"[It would be] A trade-off between people who currently receive the Winter Fuel Allowance not receiving it in the future, but actually that being targeted on the poorest pensioners, and the savings being used to make sure that the frail, those that are disabled, can have the peace of mind to make sure they don’t face those catastrophic care costs."
The director general of charity Age UK, Michelle Mitchell, called on the Government to come up with a cap on care costs.
“Implementing the Dilnot recommendations and introducing a lifetime cap on the amount any individual has to pay for their care and support would lift one of the great fears of becoming older," she said.
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03/01/2013 on Today, BBC Radio 4
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