One of the most significant things about David Cameron's Sunday Times interview today was something he didn't say. The Prime Minister made maintaining the triple lock for pensions for the next Parliament 'the first plank of the next general election manifesto', but he didn't make any 'read-my-lips' promises about anything else related to those of pensionable age. Why not? Did this mean the Conservatives are going to drop their support for universal pensioner benefits such as the winter fuel payment and free bus passes? His interview on Marr suggested that this could well happen. Here is the transcript of the relevant exchange:
Andrew Marr: While we’re talking about life on benefits what about wealthier pensioners being able to pick up benefits for free television licences, free travel, winter fuel and so forth. Is that going to carry on forever?
David Cameron: Well I made a very clear promise before the last election that if I became Prime Minister I would keep in this Parliament…
AM: In this Parliament…
DC: I made a very clear promise. We’ve kept that promise. Incidentally I think it’s important to keep these promises, you know I’ve made promises.
AM: Will you make this promise again?
DC: We will set our plans at the next election in our manifesto. But I think, it is you know, just to make the point, you know, I made promises like delivering on our aid promises. We kept that promise.