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Transfer savings from Winter Fuel Payments directly to health and social care

Last updated: 11:48am 11 July 2019

The money released [from the savings from means-testing Winter Fuel Payments] will be transferred directly to health and social care, helping to provide dignity and care to the most vulnerable pensioners and reassurance to their families.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.66

Our verdict

An ageing population and modern health concerns are driving up the costs of the healthcare system, to the extent that the government pledged to increase the NHS budget by at least £8 billion over the next five years . The manifesto states that part of that increase in funding will come from savings on the Winter Fuel Payment, a small allowance available to those over 64 to help cover the costs of winter energy bills. In 2018, the Winter Fuel Payment scheme supported around 12 million claimants, reaching an estimated cost of £2 billion.  The government promised to “mean-test” it, linking eligibility to income. This policy proposes to transfer any savings resulting from means-testing “directly to health and social care”.

As we outline in a related policy, when the Conservative Party entered into an agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in June 2018, concessions were made which meant the promise to means-test Winter Fuel Payments was abandoned. That means there are no savings to transfer to health and social care.

This policy has been dropped as a consequence of the abandonment of the proposed means-testing of Winter Fuel payments. For us, it’s definitely ‘broken’.

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