The variously centre-right and centre-left policy think tank The Social Market Foundation has said that pensioners should be stripped of their rights to free bus travel as part of a plan to save £15 billion and boost the economy.
The estimated £1 billion annual cost of concessionary travel passes for OAPs was a low-priority item of spending, they said, and it did nothing to improve the economy. It should be scrapped, they concluded.
The foundation – which was known to be John Major's favourite think tank - also suggested taking away winter fuel payments and free television licences from better-off pensioners.
This and other mildly inflammatory ideas – such as barring savers from keeping more than £15,000 of savings in ISAs, means-testing child benefits and halving tax relief for pensioners – would deliver, they said, the extra £15bn of savings the government have only just now realised they will have to find in 2016.
"Our plan would unambiguously strengthen the Government's deficit cutting credibility and increase economic output without borrowing a penny more,” they said. “That would go a long way towards reassuring the holders of UK Government debt.”
How lovely. I doubt whether the holders of UK personal debt would be terribly reassured, though, or their retired parents.
And am I the only person to spot that the Social Market Foundation's plans seem to be very much based on penalising elderly voters?
Honestly. Anyone would think that they were deliberately courting publicity...