SHADOW secretary Jon Ashworth has warned that pensioners are set to be an average of £389 worse off this year due to the “biggest real-terms cut to the state pension for 50 years”.

In a visit to Worthing to campaign for the local elections next week, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary said that 12 years of Conservative government had left retired people in the town struggling to cope with the cost-of-living crisis.

He said: “This is a desperate cost-of-living crisis and it is impacting people everywhere, and when you look at the figures, well over 20,000 retirees in Worthing are seeing a real-terms cut in their pension.

“I’m increasingly finding that pensioners are struggling with their energy bills, the rising prices in the shops, they’re struggling to fill up their car at the pump.

“Boris Johnson is imposing the biggest real-terms cut to the state pension in 50 years. Coming on top of heating bills through the roof and prices rising, his pensions betrayal means many of Britain’s retirees are facing impossible choices between heating and eating.”

Speaking with The Argus, he said the numbers of people needing emergency food support every week in neighbouring Brighton and Hove “don’t shock me but make me bloody livid”.

He said: “We shouldn’t be in a society where a parent in Brighton, Hove, Portslade or parts of Worthing is forced to make a choice between feeding the meter or feeding their children.

“We shouldn’t be in a situation where the hours of a job are so limited, the pay is so paltry, that you are forced to pick up a food parcel on your way home from a shift.

“This is what is happening after 12 years of economic mismanagement and that is why the Labour Party says it doesn’t have to be like this.”

He also criticised the decision by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, dubbed "Mr Tax" by Mr Ashworth, to increase taxes on working people in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.

While he said he would not predict whether Labour would take control of Worthing Council after next week’s election, Mr Ashworth said that residents he has spoken to in the town feel “it is time for change”.

He said: “Worthing has been Conservative for longer than I have been alive and I think, from what I’ve heard from people here, that the Tories have been taking people for granted for too long.

“People see the scandals, the lying, the fines, the partying, and it sickens people when so many are struggling to fully stock up the fridge.

“A lot of people in Worthing are fed up with the way the council is run and fed up with Boris Johnson and want to send him a message at this election.

“People have got to ask themselves, after 12 years of Conservative government, are you better or worse off?”