Pensioners will benefit from a raft of Labour policies – including free personal care and the restoration of thousands of bus routes – which the party unveiled on Tuesday (November 26).
Forming what Labour has dubbed its ‘pensioners pledge card’, the policies will commit the party to investing £10.8bn in social care and will reverse the Tories’ scrapping of the free TV licence for over-75s.
The party has also pledged to keep the free bus pass for pensioners, and will moreover invest in warm homes for all by committing to installing insulation in every home.
Setting out in detail its pensioners pledge card, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said that a Labour government would restore 3,000 bus routes that have been axed under successive Tory governments and would give councils the right to regulate buses again.
And righting a burning injustice for far too many women pensioners, Labour has pledged to compensate the roughly four million women in their 50s who have lost out unfairly after the state pension age was changed without fair notice from the government.
Labour will also address pension injustices for ex-miners, who under John Major’s Tory government, were hit by what the party says was an unfair restructuring of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme.
Under that restructuring, any surplus in the pension scheme was split 50/50 between ex-miners and the government. Labour said this ‘skimming of 50 per cent off the mineworkers’ pensions schemes’ must end and should be rebalanced, so that workers’ keep 90 per cent of any surplus.
Meanwhile, the Tories’ offer to pensioners sounds familiar because it is – under the Conservative manifesto, retired people will essentially only receive the same benefits they already have. Boris Johnson has remained silent on compensating the WASPI women and has given no indication the Tories will row back on their plan to scrap the free TV licence for over-75s.
Launching Labour’s pensioners pledge card on Tuesday, McDonnell said, “Labour’s new pledge card sets out our offer to restore dignity and proper support for older people after being abandoned by the Conservatives.
“Older people have had their pensions threatened under the Tories and nearly four million women born in the 1950s had their pensions robbed,” he added.
“The scandalous state of the care system is perhaps the biggest crisis facing our country. Labour will build a new National Care Service with free care for those who need it at the heart.”
Commenting on Labour’s latest offering to pensioners, Unite retired member Eamonn Murphy hailed in particular the party’s plan to insulate homes for all.
“Last year 50,100 excess winter deaths were recorded – the highest number since records began in 1976,” Eamonn highlighted. “This is not acceptable for the fifth richest country in the world – ‘eat or heat’ should not be an option.”
Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner likewise praised Labour’s pensioner pledge card.
“This is a fantastic offer for pensioners and demonstrates that only Labour is on the side of the elderly in this election,” he said. “It’s time for dignity in retirement.
“From social and personal care to access to free bus travel, warm homes to the ending of pensioner poverty and the shameful discrimination of the WASPI women,” Turner added.
“Labours pledge card addresses a plethora of issues which disgracefully deny pensioners dignity in retirement. Following a lifetime in work, building the foundations of modern Britain, they deserve better. Only Labour will ensure this.”