TORY PM Theresa May yesterday declared war on pensioners and their children yesterday with the launch of her party’s election manifesto.
This includes means testing and scrapping winter fuel payments to better-off pensioners. May said the payments will apply ‘to the poorest pensioners but not for the rest’. At the moment, all pensioners qualify for one-off payments of between £100 and £300 each winter.
The manifesto scraps the so-called ‘triple lock’ on state pensions and replaces it with a ‘double lock’ with the state pension to rise by the higher of average earnings or inflation, but to no longer go up by 2.5% if they are both lower than that.
Pensioners will have to ‘contribute to their care’ when their assets and savings are over £100,000.
Home care will be means tested with the value of a pensioner’s home being taken into account. Currently only their income and savings are taken into account. May said that ‘people won’t have to worry about their home while they are alive’ meaning that their children will have to pick up their dead parents’ tab.
Sir Andrew Dilnot, who produced a report on the social care system for the Coalition government in 2011, said: ‘The disappointment about these proposals is that they fail to tackle the biggest problem of all in social care: there is nothing that you can do to protect yourself against care costs.
‘People will be left helpless, knowing that what will happen, if they are unlucky enough to suffer the need for care costs, is that they will be entirely on their own until they are down to their last £100,000 of all of their wealth, including their house.’
Schools funding will be paid for by an end to the current provision of free school lunches for all infant pupils in England. May said ‘primary children will get breakfast’ instead. The Tory manifesto includes scrapping the ban on setting up new grammar schools.
It pledges a crackdown on immigration, including increasing the ‘skills charge’ paid by firms hiring non-EU workers, who will in turn be asked to pay more to use the NHS. It rules out removing students from the immigration statistics. May said: ‘We want to bring net migration down to sustainable levels.’
She contradicted the manifesto on Brexit which says, ‘We continue to believe that no deal is better than a bad deal for the UK.’ The final agreement ‘will be subject to a vote in both houses of parliament’.
In answer to a question on this clause, she said: ‘We will negotiate the best deal we can have.’