Old people need to share burden of cuts: think tank

February 23, 2011, 01:00am

PUBLIC finances could save £16bn a year if the government reduced state entitlements for older people, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) will announce today.

Universal benefits – provided to everyone, including the rich – such as winter fuel allowance should be abolished, the influential Westminster-based think tank is expected to say.

By 2015-16, £2.1bn a year could be saved by scrapping the allowance.

Pensioners often pay taxes and receive benefits at the same time: a needless “fiscal churn,” the IEA said.

And the state pension age should rise in line with increases in life expectancy, their paper “Sharing the Burden” found.

“The government has imposed many new burdens on the younger generation in cuts and taxes,” said the IEA’s Philip Booth.

“They have let older people remain largely insulated from much of the cuts. It’s time this changed.”

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