Tuesday, 30 September 2014

"Duncan Smith outlines plans for pre-paid pension cards"

From the BBC:

The government is to introduce pre-paid cards to stop pensioners spending all their money on alcohol, tobacco or Lottery tickets.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said it would help those "on the margins break the cycle of poverty". The cards could only be used for some items in some stores, and would not be valid in betting shops or off licences.

The scheme will be initially piloted on a voluntary basis and will be targeted on those with spending problems. The BBC's assistant political editor Norman Smith said government sources said the move was aimed at helping pensioners who smoked or drank and protecting their spouses.

An estimated one in 5 pension claimants in England suffer from addiction to tobacco products, such as cigarettes or cigars, while an estimated one in 4 pension claimants consumes more than the recommended maximum daily intake of alcohol.


CityUnslicker said...

good plan,let's hope they do it eh?!!!!

Mike said...

Even leaving aside that this is deeply unpleasant, authoritarian policy, why does no one ever question the cost?

A pre-payment card would be loaded with precisely the same amount of benefit, and would all get spent one way or the other. No taxpayer's money would be saved by such a scheme, it's just more benefit spending.

Ben Jamin' said...

They would just be sold or traded.

State pensions are around £70bn=10% of Government spending

Out of work benefits around £12.5bn=1.8% Government spending

I'm always amazed just how much fuss and moral outrage goes on around this tiny 1.8% sliver.

Mark Wadsworth said...

CU, it would be good fun if somebody hacked his speech thusly and he read it out in front of the assembled wrinkles.

M, it's not about cost saving, its about appearing "tough".

BJ, yes, as we have seen time and time again with any sort of voucher scheme e.g. rationing.

State Pension and other pensioner benefits are £100 bn.

Unemployment benefit in very narrow sense is a tiny amount, it all depends on what you include. A fair estimate for working age benefits in total is about £70 bn, half of which is Child Tax Credits, that's the biggest single item.