Labour blasts Tories as ‘nasty party’ over ‘shameful attack’ on older people
Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May declined to participate in the ITV leaders’ debate.
Theresa May’s manifesto showed the Tories had returned to being the “nasty party”, Labour said as it warned 10 million pensioners would lose their winter fuel payments under her plans.
The Prime Minister’s policy platform, which saw her vow to govern for “mainstream Britain” and deliver a strong economy after Brexit, included a radical shake-up of pensioner benefits and the system for funding social care.
Older people are more likely to cast their votes and Mrs May knows that removing universal benefits such as the winter fuel payment risks a backlash, but she is confident that her plans to tackle the “giant” challenges facing the country – such as its ageing population – will attract support.
Instead of taking part, Mr Corbyn led Labour’s fightback following the launch of the Tory manifesto, saying: “Theresa May’s nasty party has launched a shameful attack on older people – introducing a compassion tax to force those in need of social care to pay for it with their family home.
“Labour is standing up for pensioners and guaranteeing the triple lock on state pensions, as well as giving social care the funding it needs.
“It is clear the Conservatives are offering more of the same, tax giveaways for their billionaire friends and nothing for ordinary people. Labour is standing up for the many, not the few.”
The decision to scrap a planned £72,000 cap on social care bills was denounced by the author of a seminal report on the issue, Sir Andrew Dilnot, who said pensioners would be left “helpless” to control costs.
Instead, Mrs May offered a guarantee that no-one will be forced out of their home or left with assets of less than £100,000 as a result of care costs. Increased spending will be funded by withdrawing the £300 winter fuel payment from wealthier pensioners.
Labour highlighted analysis by living standards think tank the Resolution Foundation which suggested that the winter fuel payment plans look set to restrict the benefit to the very poorest two million pensioners, taking it away from 10 million others and saving £1.7 billion.
Both the Prime Minister and Mr Corbyn turned down the invitation to take part in the ITV Leaders’ Debate in Salford.
Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, Liberal Democrat chief Tim Farron, Ukip’s Paul Nuttall, Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood and Green co-leader Caroline Lucas showed up for the prime time debate.
Mr Farron told viewers: “The fact that Theresa May isn’t here tonight tells you she is taking you for granted. She thinks she owns this election, owns our future and owns our children’s future.”