Updated 03 September 2020
Iain Duncan Smith calls for wealthy pensioners to voluntarily hand back benefits
The work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, yesterday announced that people should return benefits they don’t need, especially wealthy pensioners. But would you give up state-endorsed benefits, such as a winter fuel allowance, television licences and free bus passes, even if you were sitting pretty?
The amount you receive in state benefit depends on your NI contribution over your lifetime – but your right to your state benefit is paid to you regardless of your wealth. It doesn’t matter if you’re rolling in dough or living on the bread line.
But why would anyone voluntarily decide to give up a benefit if they’re not forced to? Simply on moral grounds? In an interview with the Telegraph yesterday, Duncan Smith said: “It is up to them if they don’t want it to hand it back. I would encourage everybody who reads the Telegraph and doesn’t need it to hand it back.”
This chimes in with the government’s overarching proposals to cut benefits and not allow anyone who is unemployed to be better off than those who are in work.
How realistic this is and how many people actually decide to hand back their benefits, only time will tell.