El­derly home­own­ers will have to pay more for their old-age care

New Straits Times - - World -


BRI­TISH Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s Con­ser­va­tive Party said yes­ter­day that it would not ditch pro­pos­als to re­duce sup­port for el­derly vot­ers, as opin­ion polls show­ing their lead ahead of the June 8 na­tional elec­tion fall­ing.

Polls pub­lished on Satur­day showed the Con­ser­va­tive lead over the cen­tre-left Labour Party had nar­rowed af­ter both par­ties set out their pol­icy of­fer­ings last week — the first real sign that an ex­pected vic­tory for May could be less em­phatic than many had pre­dicted.

May has faced crit­i­cism from po­lit­i­cal ri­vals and pres­sure groups over her planned so­cial care re­forms, which in­clude mak­ing el­derly home­own­ers, a core voter group for the Con­ser­va­tives, pay more to­wards their oldage care

The crit­i­cism, in­clud­ing within the Sun­day edi­tions of usu­ally friendly right-leaning news­pa­pers, prompted se­nior min­is­ters to de­fend the re­form pack­age in a series of tele­vi­sion in­ter­views.

“This is nec­es­sary... we have to do some­thing about the huge costs of so­cial care,” For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son said.

The grow­ing cost of car­ing for the el­derly as the pop­u­la­tion ages is a prob­lem that has be­dev­illed suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments, with the cur­rent sys­tem widely seen as in­ad­e­quate.

“I do un­der­stand peo­ple’s reser­va­tions and the ques­tions that some peo­ple are ask­ing about the de­tail of all this, but the broad thrust is right,” said John­son.

In an in­ter­view on the BBC, Damian Green, pen­sions min­is­ter and a close May ally, was asked whether the gov­ern­ment would re­con­sider the planned changes. He said: “No”.

One poll showed Labour had halved the Con­ser­va­tives’ lead to nine per­cent­age points; the first sin­gle-fig­ure gap since May called the snap elec­tion hop­ing for a re­sound­ing vic­tory that would strengthen her man­date to ne­go­ti­ate Bri­tain’s exit from the Euro­pean Union.

Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn, whose man­i­festo launch set out plans for higher state in­vest­ment and na­tion­al­i­sa­tion of some ser­vices, said the Con­ser­va­tives were be­tray­ing Bri­tain’s el­derly.

“Theresa May and the Con­ser­va­tives won’t stand up for pen­sion­ers, their only con­cern is their bil­lion­aire friends,” he said.

The Con­ser­va­tives are por­tray­ing Cor­byn as an out-of-touch left-winger. Reuters


Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May ar­riv­ing at the Eal­ing Con­ser­va­tive As­so­ci­a­tion in Lon­don on Satur­day.

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