WEALTHY pensioners will pay more in care costs and lose their winter fuel allowance under the next Conservative government.
The overhaul of social care allowances was included in the 84-page Conservative manifesto launched yesterday in the Tory target seat of Halifax, West Yorkshire.
The document also includes plans to downgrade the so-called “triple-lock” on pensions but offers promises to increase employees’ tax-free earnings allowance, cap energy bills, cut immigration and invest more in education and the NHS.
Theresa May tore up David Cameron’s 2015 “tax lock” pledge not to raise income tax or national insurance. But she promised not to hike VAT and said it was her “firm intention” not to increase taxes on businesses or working families.
Speaking at the launch the Prime Minister rejected suggestions that policies such as an energy price cap, a commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on international aid and new rights for workers represented a move away from the Conservatism of Margaret Thatcher.
She said: “Margaret Thatcher was a Conservative, I am a Conservative, this is a Conservative manifesto.There is no Mayism. There is good, solid Conservatism that puts the interests of the country and the interests of ordinary working people at the heart of everything we do in government.”
At present, those with more than £23,000 have to pay their own care costs. The threshold has been criticised for offering too little protection to pensioners who have spent their lives prudently saving.
Once savings are depleted below this level, care is provided by the state. Mrs May will increase that threshold to £100,000, but crucially the value of a person’s home will now be taken into account. Payment could be deferred until after death.
Experts suggested the change would result in more people having to sell or mortgage their homes – or for their beneficiaries to do so – for residential or at-home care.
The winter fuel allowance of £300 will become means tested, meaning wealthier pensioners will lose out.
And the triple-lock brought in by David Cameron – that pensions will always rise at the fastest of average earnings, inflation, or 2.5 per cent – will be downgraded to a double-lock by 2020. After that it will only match inflation or average earnings.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn described the plan as a “tax on dementia” which would see people with long-lasting and extreme conditions run up vast bills.
Other manifesto commitments include:
l £8 billion extra for the NHS
l £4 billion extra for schools by 2020
l End the ban on new grammar schools
l A target to cut net migration below 100,000
l More frequent revaluations for business rates
l Increase the personal tax allowance to £12,500 and the threshold for top rate tax to £50,000 by 2020
l Increase National Living Wage to 60 per cent of median incomes by 2020
l An increased levy on firms which employ migrant workers
l A requirement for workers to sit on the boards of listed companies.
Peter Kyle, Labour candidate for Hove, said: “‘I’m shocked that the Tory manifesto has failed retired people so badly. First they drop the triple lock, then they impose a form of social care funding they have spent the last seven years calling a ‘death tax’.
“The one certainty for us in Brighton and Hove is that there’s no end to the health crisis, no rolling back of the cuts to school budgets, and no thought given to commnities like ours as they recklessly prioritise leaving the EU fast above getting it right.”
Neither Brighton Kemptown Conservative candidate Simon Kirby nor Hove Conservative Candidate Kristy Adams replied to The Argus requests for comment.