The majority of over 50s are unlikely to support giving up many of their free universal benefits in exchange for more funding for health and care.
Support for removing certain universal benefits increased when the possibility of the money being reserved to fund care for the elderly was suggested in the survey of 9,794 Saga customers carried out by the Saga Populus panel.
Of the five benefits, free prescriptions, free eye tests, winter fuel allowance, free bus passes and free television licences, none had a majority of over 50s supporting their removal without the funding being diverted to care for the elderly.
The end of free prescriptions was supported by just 7% of over 50s, rising to 15% If the money was reserved for care for the elderly, with 85% unlikely to consider giving them up, an increase on last year.
Free eye tests were also keenly protected with 75% unlikely to support giving them up, dropping to 54% if the money were to go to care for the elderly.
Giving up free bus passes to fund care for the elderly was supported by 38% of better off over 50s compared to 13% of those in social grades D and E.
When having free television licences withdrawn and the funding used for care for the elderly was suggested, 39% of respondents were in favour, compared to 37% against.
Saga's director of communications Paul Green commented: "Clearly nobody wants something they already have to be taken away from them, however our research shows that a significant minority would be willing to have some benefits taxed or be focussed on poorer pensioners. Support for this has undoubtedly grown over the past year, and are more pronounced if they knew the money was ring-fenced for the NHS and elderly care.
"It appears that the reality of the funding crisis in the nation's social care system is dawning on many over Briton's over 50s. So while there remains a general distrust that the money will be spent wisely, if the funds were to be ring-fenced, the Saga Generations would be more likely to support changes to universal benefits."
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