IDS confirmed in Parliament yesterday at DWP Questions that more than £2 in every £3 spent on welfare benefits goes to pensioners.
Mr Philip Hollobone(Kettering) (Con): How much his Department spent on benefits in 2010; and what estimate he has made of such spending in 2015. 
The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Mr Iain Duncan Smith): In 2010-11, the Department for Work and Pensions spent £54 billion on working age claimants and children at today’s prices, and £106 billion on pensioners. Total expenditure was 9.8% of GDP. In 2015-16, as a result of our changes, the Department will spend £54 billion on working age claimants and children at today’s prices, and £116 billion on pensioners.
A simple way to view these figures is below:
Cue howls of derision from the older persons lobbies and just about everyone else! How dare I say that!! Pensioners have earned this money and ‘worked all their lives’ and other arguments will spew forth which of course fail to consider that those on the dole have contributed too. Yet mention that pensions are part of the welfare benefit spend – which ALL governments past and present maintain.
We need to get over that view as this has significant consequences for the welfare benefit bill such as the HB bill will always increase given people are living longer. It also has huge issues for the ‘welfare reform’ policies such as will the next government apply the bedroom tax and benefit cap to pensioners? Given that 31% of all social housing tenants are retired yet only 7.4% of private tenants are retired and four in every five retired tenants lives in social housing then the fact that £2 in every £3 goes to pensioners has significant consequences for social housing such as how do we afford sheltered housing.
You cannot merely dismiss the FACT that £2 in every £3 of the welfare benefit spend goes to pensioners by saying they are worthy recipients yet working-age persons in receipt of welfare benefits are not. If all benefit recipients are scroungers – as government rhetoric and Benefit Street and other TV ‘reality’ programmes want us to believe – then the biggest scroungers are pensioners? Of course not yet why are we taken in with this political blame game and why are we stupid enough to believe it?
I will be discussing what this means in a series of posts but for now the simple point of this short blog is to get the FACT out there that over £2 in every £3 in welfare benefits goes to pensioners….FACT!!