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Age-related Income Tax Allowances

Volume 543: debated on Tuesday 24 April 2012

5. What assessment he has made of the effect on pensioners of the proposed changes to age-related income tax allowances. (104793)

No one will pay more tax in 2013-14 than they do today as a result of the changes. There are no cash losers. The Government remain absolutely committed to supporting pensioners. We have introduced a triple guarantee for the basic state pension, ensuring that it will increase each and every year by the highest of earnings, prices or 2.5%. We have also protected other benefits that make a real difference to the lives of millions of pensioners.

What does the Minister have to say to those who are turning 65 in just under a year’s time? They are set to be more than £25 a month worse off than they thought they would be, but they have no time to plan for that change.

Those who turn 65 next year will benefit from the biggest increase in the personal allowance that we have ever seen.

In the past couple of weeks, I have read in leaflets that pensioners have been hit by the Government axing free bus passes, free prescriptions and free television licences. Did I miss something in the Budget, or are those simply lies from the Labour party?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We saw that in leaflets before the election and we see it in leaflets now. None of it is true.

The Chancellor claims to be credible and consistent in his decision making, including his decision to withdraw the age-related tax allowances—the so-called granny tax that my hon. Friend the Member for Blaenau Gwent (Nick Smith) just asked about. In that case, will the Minister confirm why, in February 2009, the present Chancellor explicitly called for the tax-free allowance for pensioners to be increased?

In the light of the very substantial increase in the general personal allowance and of the concerns raised by the Office of Tax Simplification that the current structure does not have support, that is the right move. Pensioners are well protected by our policies and will continue to be so, but that move is one that results in a simpler and fairer tax system.