Formby campaigner says Tories have betrayed elderly after going

Catie Page

A Formby Labour campaigner says she is disgusted that the Conservatives have gone back on their pre-election pledge to safeguard the winter fuel allowance.

Before the election last year, the Conservatives denied Labour claims that the Tories were planning to slash the winter fuel allowance.

The yearly tax-free payment to help people pay for their heating in the winter was worth £250 for the over 60s last week, and £400 for the over 80s.

However, the Tories and Lib Dems have slashed the funding which will mean the payment will revert to £200 and £300 for the two age groups in the winter of 2011-12.

But in the run up to the General election last year in the Formby Times, on the subject of winter fuel payment, free TV license and free bus pass, the Ravenmeols Tory candidate said: "They won’t be cut under the Conservatives. They will be categorically safeguarded."

Formby campaigner and Labour candidate for Ravenmeols Catie Page, who lives in Formby, said the Tory u-turn was a betrayal of older people.

Catie said: "It was less than 12 months ago that the Conservatives assured people they would safeguard the winter fuel allowance. The Tory candidate even told the Formby Times that the allowance would be saved.

"But as soon as they get in power they slash the amount being paid.

"This will be devastating for many people who rely on the payments to make sure they are warm.

"This is not something which we should be playing politics with. Last year 36,700 older people died due to cold-related illnesses. That figure will only increase if people are trying to save money at the expense of heating their homes."

Catie said more people will be relying on winter fuel allowance in the coming winter period than ever before.

Catie said: "Times are hard for people. Jobs are harder to come by, VAT has gone up, fuel prices are rocketing, people need help now more than ever. And over the next year things will only be getting worse.

"So to slash the winter fuel allowance will mean that come October, November and December, there will be people who are afraid to turn on the heating for fearing of running up large bills which they can not afford."


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