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Saturday 20th
posted by Zoe Streatfield in Britain

McDonnell condemns attacks on ‘vulnerable’ older people

JOHN MCDONNELL has branded Tory plans to scrap winter fuel allowances for some pensioners a “savage attack,” demanding the nasty policy be dropped immediately.

Speaking to the media yesterday, the shadow chancellor said: “This is a savage attack on vulnerable pensioners, particularly those who are just about managing.

“We will not stand by and allow so many of them to be back in a situation where they have to choose whether they heat or eat.”

Shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey accused the Tories of “launching an all-out attack on pensioner incomes by abandoning the triple-lock, cutting winter fuel payments, raising the state pension age and breaking promises on social care and GP access.”

She said that if the Tories’ proposed “double” lock had been in place since 2010, pensioners would now be £330 worse off, and she warned that five in every six pensioners are set to lose their winter fuel allowance — worth up to £300.

Currently households automatically receive £100 to £300 each December if there is one person living there who has reached qualifying age.

Under the new proposals, eligibility would be related to income, however the Tories have failed to specify exactly what the threshold would be, leading to fears that pensioners on low and middle incomes would also be deprived of the payments.

To determine who receives the allowance, the Tories have proposed a means-test of households, but the test will not apply to pensioners in Scotland.

Britain’s biggest pensioner organisation, the National Pensioners Convention’s general secretary Jan Shortt said:

“Pensioners will be absolutely outraged that the Conservatives are going to introduce such a blatant postcode lottery for the winter fuel allowance if they win the election.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn also criticised the proposal, warning that means-testing winter fuel payments would lead to more fuel poverty and deaths.

Speaking on a visit to an over-fifties community centre in Bedford, Mr Corbyn said he was clear that “a Labour government will properly fund our NHS, properly fund social care and won’t put older people through the indignity of losing their winter fuel allowance when they are already, too many of them, living in deep poverty and sadly some die of hypothermia.”