The Tory manifesto, or is it Teresa May’s charter, says it’s about tough choices. But who exactly is making them and who is on the receiving end? Can they really say they are designing a new system of social care for older people when they’re simply offloading responsibility for it onto older people themselves. With the ditching of the triple lock on pensions, people would be more vulnerable to rising prices without the guarantee of an annual pension rise of 2.5 per cent.
The Tories introduction of a means test for the winter fuel payment would be likely to discourage many people from claiming it, even if they are entitled to, because of the stigma attached. For many older people it’s a process they’re not willing to undertake. Elderly men and women would be unable to heat their homes this winter. And let’s not be under any illusion about what this sentence means:
‘We will also ensure that the state pension age reflects increases in life expectancy, while protecting each generation fairly.’ – Tory Manifesto
Under the Tories, the pension age would rise yet again. But though people may be living longer, there are many jobs and professions that most older people would be unable to continue with. Working on building sites into your seventies?
A greater number of people would also have to pay more for their long term care, if and when they need it. The changes proposed to the criteria to be met for social care would see more families putting their homes at risk. They may not have to sell them while they’re still alive, but what happens to a still living partner or spouse after they’ve gone? How are they meant to pay for their potential care if their only asset, their home, has already been used for payment? Where are they supposed to live?
Property prices vary considerably up and down the country so the proportion of people who would have to contribute before they got any help from the government wouldn’t be consistent, nor would the amount they’d have to pay either.
Labour plans for older people are about caring for those who have already been putting into our communities. Those who have worked hard all their lives, paid their dues and just need a helping hand when they become more frail. Labour will keep the pension age at 66, guarantee to maintain the triple lock on pensions and maintain the winter fuel payment as a universal benefit. That’s not a tough choice for us. It’s about priorities, Labour believes pensioners need support more than top earners need tax breaks.
Portsmouth North Labour candidate Rumal Khan says:
‘The Conservatives, or should I say Theresa and her team, call their manifesto one for “country and community”. I believe a true community comes together in difficult times and works in partnership to support each other and help those who need it most, so no one is left behind. I see no evidence of this in the Tory manifesto. Taking food from infants and placing a stealth tax on the elderly – taking everything away they’ve worked so hard for over so many years – this is a terrible thing.’
Only a Labour government will stand up for pensioners and protect them