Theresa May’s plans to introduce means testing for the winter fuel allowance will lead to 3,850 extra pensioner deaths this winter, according to new Labour Party analysis.
The Conservatives have not made clear how they would go about means testing the winter fuel payment, which is currently a universal benefit for all pensions, but if it is linked to eligibility for pension credit, it could remove the payment from 10 million people.
The Conservative manifesto also sets out plans for a social care tax that would compel elderly people with dementia to use their home to pay for their treatment after death. It would also remove the triple lock on pensions.
Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said: “There are now only three days until polls open in this election, and the truth about the Tories plans for older people in our country needs to be known. Re-electing the Tories will represent the single biggest attack on pensioners in a generation in our country.
“Removing the Winter Fuel Payments from millions of pensioners could leave thousands of the most vulnerable at even more risk this winter. On top of their dementia tax, it means that pensioners in our country will struggle to heat their homes and keep their homes under the Tories.
“While Theresa May will only promise to protect the very rich from tax rises, and offer huge tax giveaways to big business. Labour will make different choices, protecting Winter Fuel Payments for all pensioners, and building an economy that works for the many, and not the few.”
Since the introduction of the winter fuel payment by Labour in 1997, allowing for significant variation in winter weather, deaths among the elderly have fallen from around 34,000 to 24,000.
Responding to the analysis, Conservative Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green said: “This is irresponsible scaremongering by Jeremy Corbyn - who can’t be honest about the fact he is relying on his magic money tree to pay for all of his un-costed promises. We have been very clear that we will always look after the most vulnerable.
“The best way to protect our elderly is to keep our economy strong and get the Brexit negotiations right. Theresa May has the plan to deliver that and lock in the economic progress we’ve made if she continues as Prime Minister on Friday – Jeremy Corbyn on the other hand would put everything at risk.”