Election 2017

General election 2017: Labour steps up push for pensioner vote

Jeremy Corbyn and Pamela Hancock Image copyright PA

Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to protect pensioners from Conservative "attacks" on their income as he steps up his push for older voters.

The Labour leader claims pensioners will be £330 a year worse off under the plans set out in the Tory manifesto.

Labour is promising to protect the winter fuel allowance, the "triple lock" guaranteeing annual 2.5% pension rises and other benefits.

The Conservatives accused Mr Corbyn of running a "scare campaign".

A spokesman said the "genuinely terrifying thing" was the prospect of Mr Corbyn in Downing Street and in charge of Brexit negotiations.

It comes as Conservative activists warned Theresa May risked losing votes among elderly people in the party's heartlands over her plan to shake-up social care.

Mrs May has said the policy will protect people from the fear that they will lose all their savings to pay for care, but critics say some worry they will not be able to pass on their homes to their children when they die.

BBC political correspondent Susana Mendonca says Labour senses some vulnerability in the Tory camp on this issue and feels it presents an opportunity to win over some voters unhappy with the plans.

Four opinion polls for Sunday newspapers suggest that while the Conservatives retain a big lead, support for Labour has increased over recent weeks.


How would the Tory social care plans work?

Currently anyone with assets of over £23,250 is expected to pay the full cost of residential care.

If you are in a care home or nursing home, the value of your house can be taken into account, but that's not currently the case if you receive care in your own home.

In future, under the Conservative plan, elderly people requiring care at home would have to meet the cost.

The value of their homes may be included in that, but the money would not be taken from their estate until after their death - and the Tories say they would guarantee that £100,000 of assets will be left untouched.

Why many will pay more


Mrs May was questioned on the policy by a voter in west London on Saturday who said she was "unnerved" by the proposal.

The prime minister said the plan was the "best way to enable more people to stay in their homes".

She also said there would be a consultation on the plan.

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Media captionA voter told Theresa May she was "unnerved" by proposed changes to social care charges

Jeremy Corbyn has spent the past two days accusing Mrs May of stirring up a "war between the generations" by playing off old against young - and of planning an "attack" on pensioners if she wins power.

He said: "Not satisfied with plunging our social care system into crisis, Theresa May's nasty party has promised more attacks on older people: scrapping the triple-lock on state pensions, removing the winter fuel allowance and asset stripping the ill by forcing those who need social care to pay for it with their homes.

"Labour will protect the winter fuel allowance and triple-lock on state pensions to deliver a secure and dignified retirement for all, and spend an extra £45bn on the NHS and social care over five years, so that older people can get the care they deserve."

In a campaign speech on Saturday, the Labour leader claimed his message was "getting through" to voters, after opinion polls suggested he had narrowed the large Conservative lead ahead of the election on 8 June.

School lunches

In other election developments, the Conservatives say Labour plans to halve inheritance tax thresholds to £425,000 would hit 3.9 million households in the UK and could affect a further million within five years given likely increases in house prices.

The party has published research suggesting that if house prices were just to rise in line with forecast inflation over the next five years, then by 2022, 61% of all homes in London (2.1 million homes) would be liable for inheritance tax under Labour's current plans.

The Observer newspaper has, meanwhile, claimed Conservative manifesto plans to end universal free school lunches for all infants, and to means test them instead, will hit 900,000 poor and ordinary working families.

It is based on research from the Education Policy Institute, which has identified 100,000 children who it says are in relative poverty and who will no longer receive a free meal under Mrs May's proposals.

It says 667,000 "ordinary working families" will no longer receive a free lunch, which it says will cost about £440 a year per child.

A Tory source questioned the figures, claiming they had been "cobbled together" by a body led by former Lib Dem minister David Laws and it was not right to spend "precious resources on subsidising school meals for better-off parents" and the money was better spent by head teachers on pupils education.