X

Create an account to continue reading.

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles
For unlimited access to The Spectator, subscribe below

Registered readers have access to our blogs and a limited number of magazine articles

Sign in to continue

Already have an account?

What's my subscriber number?

Subscribe now from £1 a week

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
 
View subscription offers

Already a subscriber?

or

Subscribe now for unlimited access

ALL FROM JUST £1 A WEEK

View subscription offers

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Login

Don't have an account? Sign up
X

Subscription expired

Your subscription has expired. Please go to My Account to renew it or view subscription offers.

X

Forgot Password

Please check your email

If the email address you entered is associated with a web account on our system, you will receive an email from us with instructions for resetting your password.

If you don't receive this email, please check your junk mail folder.

X

It's time to subscribe.

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access – from just £1 a week

You've read all your free Spectator magazine articles for this month.

Subscribe now for unlimited access

Online

Unlimited access to The Spectator including the full archive from 1828

Print

Weekly delivery of the magazine

App

Phone & tablet edition of the magazine

Spectator Club

Subscriber-only offers, events and discounts
X

Sign up

What's my subscriber number? Already have an account?

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

Thank you for creating an account – Your subscriber number was not recognised though. To link your subscription visit the My Account page

Thank you for creating your account – To update your details click here to manage your account

X

Your subscriber number is the 8 digit number printed above your name on the address sheet sent with your magazine each week. If you receive it, you’ll also find your subscriber number at the top of our weekly highlights email.

Entering your subscriber number will enable full access to all magazine articles on the site.

If you cannot find your subscriber number then please contact us on customerhelp@subscriptions.spectator.co.uk or call 0330 333 0050. If you’ve only just subscribed, you may not yet have been issued with a subscriber number. In this case you can use the temporary web ID number, included in your email order confirmation.

You can create an account in the meantime and link your subscription at a later time. Simply visit the My Account page, enter your subscriber number in the relevant field and click 'submit changes'.

If you have any difficulties creating an account or logging in please take a look at our FAQs page.

Coffee House

Can you really give back your pensioner perks?

29 April 2013

4:30 PM

29 April 2013

4:30 PM

This weekend, Iain Duncan Smith sparked a furore when a Sunday Telegraph interview quoted him as saying he would ‘encourage everybody who reads the Telegraph and doesn’t need [their winter fuel allowance], to hand it back’. This morning, however, he appears to have offered a retraction, telling the Today programme that ‘I’m neither encouraging nor discouraging anybody to hand their money back’, adding that if pensioners are eligible, ‘it’s wholly their money to take if they wish.’ And his colleague Ken Clarke claimed there wasn’t even a mechanism for doing this.

So, if you normally spend your winter fuel payment on your family’s Christmas presents or on restocking your wine supplies, can you hand it back to the government? And how?

[Alt-Text]


The DWP does have a helpline (0845 915 1515) which as Duncan-Smith points out has always been on its website, and which allows people to call and ask for their payment to be stopped, either as a one-off, or permanently. If your winter fuel money has already arrived, you can send it back by cheque to the ‘Winter Fuel Payment Team’ along with a letter explaining that you don’t want the money in the future, either.

Or you can, as Nick Hurd recommended this winter, donate the money the government gives you for something you don’t need help with to charity. UK Community Foundations is one organisation actively seeking donations from better-off pensioners in order to tackle real fuel poverty.

But the Prime Minister’s official spokesman was quite clear this morning that ‘the Prime Minister made a promise and he intends to stick by that promise’. So if you wonder why you’re getting help from the government, it’s up to you to give it back, until 2015 at least.

Give something clever this Christmas – a year’s subscription to The Spectator for just £75. And we’ll give you a free bottle of champagne. Click here.


Show comments
Close