Tory fuel allowance cut could lead to pensioner deaths, John McDonnell suggests

Posted On: 
19th May 2017

Pensioners could die this winter as a result of Tory plans to cut their fuel allowance, John McDonnell has suggested.

John McDonnell unveils Labour's latest election poster.
Credit: 
PoliticsHome

The Shadow Chancellor said older people were being "put at risk" by the plan to restrict the handout to the poorest OAPs.

Respected thinktank the Resolution Foundation say 10 million pensioners could lose the perk, which is worth up to £300 a year.

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The plan to cut the benefit was contained in the Conservative general election manifesto published yesterday. It is aimed at saving the Government £1.7bn to plough into the social care system.

The manifesto also confirmed that the triple lock - which guarantees pensions will rise by at least 2.5% a year - will be scrapped, while many pensioners will be forced to use the value of their homes to pay for their care if they end up in a home.

A new Labour campaign poster, unveiled today, said the proposals amounted to a "Tory triple whammy for pensioners".

Speaking at the launch of the poster, Mr McDonnell said: "We're putting at risk large numbers of pensioners this winter if the Tories get re-elected.

"We're demanding that they withdraw this proposal immediately because it introduces insecurity to up to 10 million pensioners."

Asked specifically if he believes lives could be lost as a result of the policy, he said: "I don't want to be in a situation where people do not get the winter fuel allowance that they're getting now, and as a result of that this winter will not be able to afford their heating bill.

"I do not want our pensioners cold this winter. That's why we introduced the winter fuel allowance and I just appeal to the Tories 'withdraw it today' because this is a bad policy, uncosted and in my view will cause extreme concern to anyone who is concerned about our old people."

But a Conservative spokesman said: "Every generation would pay the price if Jeremy Corbyn is put in charge of our economy and Brexit negotiations.

"Our long-term plan for elderly care will make the system fairer, better funded and more sustainable – helping to ensure elderly people receive the dignified and high quality care they deserve.

"Jeremy Corbyn can’t deliver anything and isn’t being honest with people. His numbers don’t add up and the only way to pay for his ideas is massive tax hikes on working people."