All Parties should commit to means-testing the Winter Fuel Allowance at the next general election, says the Reform think tank.
Analysis of figures published today by the Department for Work and Pensions show that last year 11.57 million pensioners received between £100 - £300 to help heat their homes, at a cost of almost £2 billion.
However, the think tank argues that this is unfair with fewer than 10 per cent of over-60s households in fuel poverty.
26 per cent of single-parent households, in comparison, are unable to heat their homes.
Tenants in the private sector are at the highest risk of fuel poverty, with 19.4% unable to heat their homes. Less than 4% of over 65s live in the private rental sector.
The think tank is calling for the Winter Fuel Allowance to be means-tested. This would mean that the poorest pensioners would continue to receive this vital benefit, while enabling the savings to be reinvested in cash-strapped public services.
Commenting, Reform Researcher, Imogen Farhan, said:
“Party’s must set aside concerns about the ‘Grey Vote’ and reform this overly-generous benefit.
“It is vital that those struggling to heat their homes receive support, but handing out cash to wealthy pensioners is a waste of taxpayers’ money.
“Means-testing the Winter Fuel Allowance would enable much need public funds to be redirected to those in greatest need.
"With working families struggling to make ends meet, politicians should take this opportunity to create a more generationally fair system.”