• Conservative manifesto: A triple-pronged attack on East Devon’s pensioners

    24th May 2017 | News | Claire
  • The Conservative manifesto contains some appalling attacks on the very people who can bear it the least. 

    In recent years we have seen younger people, those on benefits and disabled people, lose vital financial support and it seems that the Conservatives are now targeting older people.

    The winter fuel allowance will be so restricted that an estimated 10 MILLION people out of 12 million will lose out. That’s almost everyone.

    This will create terrible hardship for older people who are already struggling to make ends meet in addition to heating their homes.

    The pension triple lock is set to be lifted, which could see the same people who are struggling to make ends meet suffer hardship as they see their state pension lose value year after year.

    Meanwhile insurance companies circle like sharks, trying to cash in by providing schemes with high premiums. What kind of caring Conservatism is that? They’re taking apart the welfare state and selling it off piece by piece.

    I’ve received messages from pensioners who are concerned, upset and angry. These are people who’ve worked hard for 40 years or more, paid their taxes and National Insurance like good citizens do, and simply want to pass on their home to their children or their grandchildren.

    And the Conservatives are aiming to take it away: Incredible! Many of them are core conservative voters. They’re telling me that they will never vote Tory again and that they’re happy to find an Independent they can back instead. One couple called it ‘an insult to our generation’.

    The announcement that Mrs May made on Monday about a “cap” on the amount someone pays for social care was vague and was not in the least bit reassuring. The plans are set to affect the least well off pensioners most and their families – and that is totally unacceptable.

    We have clearly seen the way the Conservatives want to go on this issue and they cannot be trusted to be fair.

    And it is deeply unfair, especially when the government is prioritising spending billions on projects that are nothing to do with improving lives of people living here, such as HS2, a third runway at Heathrow, building brand new roads, free schools and new grammar schools, to give just a few examples.

    East Devon is well known as a beautiful place to retire to. The Guardian named it number five in the country in a 2012 article. The 2011 census showed that 28% of our local population is aged 65 and over, and that three quarters of people here are owner-occupiers. Both of those statistics are significantly higher than the national average.

    So East Devon will be particularly hard hit by this misguided policy. Our local pensioners, who’ve paid into the system for decades, are being deserted by the government.

    Meanwhile Hugo Swire, the Conservative candidate, is studiously avoiding the issue – instead tweeting about Brexit and Labour’s spending plans. He is also refusing to come to hustings.

    The Conservatives plans have been questioned by politicians and others across the spectrum.

    Sarah Wollaston, the Conservative MP for Totnes raised concerns. The National Pensioners Convention is worried, and the term ‘dementia tax‘ seems to have caught on.

    Even the Bow Group, the oldest Conservative think tank in the country, has described the proposal as “the biggest stealth tax in history”.

    If I’m elected to parliament on June 8th (and that’s looking increasingly likely), this is precisely the kind of assault I will stand up against.

    I will work with MPs in other parties, just as I’ve been working with councillors from other parties for the last six years. I will do my best to protect ordinary people here in this beautiful constituency from the ravages of the Conservatives.

    Unlike other MPs who have to follow the whip and worry more about their party leaders than the people who put them there, my focus will always be the welfare of the people of East Devon.”