Sir Andrew Dilnot, the head of the UK Statistics Authority, has piled more pressure on Theresa May and her government to scrap their election pledge to keep on increasing pensions and instead use the cash to guarantee care for the elderly instead. Sir Andrew has also called for other generous handouts that old age pensioners get too to be looked at again, such as their winter fuel allowance.
In a talk at the Resolution Foundation in London, Sir Andrew said that pensioners as a whole were "doing quite well out of the government" and some of their perks should be used to plug the gaps in the care system. His comments come as the government are expected to reveal a draft social care reform plan later in 2017. Sir Andrew commented:
"It is in this country at the moment an absolute shambles. It's in freefall. It's full of people trying to do their very best and it is absolute chaos."
He also called for the triple lock to be scrapped too. The triple lock is a guarantee to increase the state pension every year by the higher of inflation, average earnings or a minimum of 2.5%. Whilst it was a sure fire vote winner at the time when introduced by David Cameron in 2010, this inflation-busting measure has cost the Treasury over £28 billion over the past six years, money that Sir Andrew Dilnot argues could be better spent on care for the UK's most needy pensioners.
"Let's recast the triple lock, let's substitute social insurance with an excess for one of the elements of the triple lock. It seems a perfectly reasonable and legitimate thing to do. I also think it would be perfectly reasonable to recast the winter fuel allowance."
Sir Andrew's calls come as more and more experts are warning that the UK's social care system is on the verge of collapse, with Chancellor Philip Hammond having to find an extra £2 billion of funding just to keep the UK's oversubscribed elderly and disabled services afloat.