A government minister is urging well-off pensioners who do not need their winter fuel allowance to donate the money to charity.
Charities Minister Nick Hurd told The Daily Telegraph he would congratulate any pensioner who chose to give away the allowance - worth £200 for the over 60s rising to £300 for the over 80s.
His intervention comes at a time when Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has been pressing for a stop to universal benefits, such as the winter fuel allowance and free bus passes, going to the wealthiest pensioners.
David Cameron, however, has made clear that he his determined to stick to the Conservatives' general election manifesto commitment to maintain universal benefits for the elderly.
Mr Hurd said that while the Government would honour its pledges, he would welcome pensioners who chose of their own accord to give the money to good causes.
"The Government is going to stick to its commitments," he said. "But if people take their own decisions that they want to use (the money) for good, of course, as minister for charity, I would support, congratulate and encourage them."