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.
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?
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.