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’.
Fuelled by facts – get the details!
- Winter Fuel Payments update – Parliament.uk
- Winter Fuel Payment – Age UK
- Winter illness preparation advice – Better Healthcare Services
- Fixing the Care Crisis – Centre for Policy Studies
- Cold Enough – Strategic Society Centre