As polling day approaches, it would take a brave person to put money on the outcome. Is Boris Johnson on course to win outright, or will he end up clinging to power in another hung parliament? Could that seasoned campaigner, Jeremy Corbyn, enjoy a last-minute surge and snatch a surprise victory? Or might Jo Swinson, leader of the rejuvenated Lib Dems, find herself calling the shots in the wake of heavy tactical voting? To help you decide how to vote, Saga asked all three party leaders to explain what they would do for the over-50s. Here is what they told us.
The over-50s deserve to be acknowledged properly
by BORIS JOHNSON
People are living for longer. It is enormously positive news for society. Children are growing up with more lasting relationships with their grandparents. Charities and community schemes are benefiting from healthier, more energetic retired volunteers. And more over-50s are enjoying the riches of the silver years of life.
While the development presents huge opportunities, there are challenges too. The average 65-year-old faces social care costs of £40,000 on average over later life, while for some the figure will be considerably higher.
The Conservatives have a three-point plan for social care. We will stabilise the current system with an extra £1 billion a year to support local authorities; secure immediate cross-party consensus for a long-term solution to avoid politicisation of such an important issue; and guarantee that no one will have to sell their home to pay for care.
The over-50s have made a lifetime of contributions as taxpayers and deserve to have that acknowledged properly by society. The Conservatives made a landmark commitment to pensioners in 2010 by introducing the triple lock – a guarantee that pensions will rise at a minimum of 2.5 per cent each year. This policy means that by next year pensioners will be £1,900 better off than in 2010.
We believe in protecting pensioners’ financial security in the long term so we will continue to safeguard the triple lock along with the winter fuel allowance, providing the average pensioner with almost £1,000 more a year by the end of the next Parliament.
Free TV licences for over-75s also recognises the contribution pensioners have made to society. We will continue to support the policy and expect the BBC to pay for it, as they previously agreed with the government.
Diseases like dementia and cancer affect the over 50s more than those in other age groups. The Conservatives have launched a ground-breaking £1.6 billion fund in a bold bid to make Britain the nation to find a cure for dementia. In addition, we will launch a £500 million fund to give patients quicker access to the most cutting-edge medicines for cancer and other diseases.
However, none of this is possible without a majority Conservative government. Jeremy Corbyn has promised only more chaos and delay with two more referendums next year – one on Brexit and another on breaking up the union. He wants to keep immigration uncontrolled and unlimited, putting a great strain on our vital public services. The Conservatives will get Brexit done and focus on the people’s prioritises like improving the NHS, tackling crime and finding a long-term solution to social care.
Peace of mind and dignity for the over-50s
by JEREMY CORBYN
Solidarity between generations is at the heart of Labour’s vision for a society that works for the many not the few. Yet our social care sector is currently a national scandal, with nearly £8bn cut from care budgets since 2010, leaving 1.5 million people without the care they need according to Age UK.
I am very proud of Labour’s plans for National Care Service, which will introduce personal care free at the point of use for all older people in England. Widening free provision will ease the burden on NHS hospitals and ensure greater parity of care for people with conditions such as dementia, while reducing the challenges faced by family and other unpaid carers.
We will also end hospital car parking charges, something I know Saga magazine has campaigned for.
People are entitled to security in their retirement so Labour will scrap the rises in the pension age to 67 and 68. Unlike the Conservatives, we are committed to maintaining the triple lock, ensuring that the state pension will increase each year in line with the highest of inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent.
And we will guarantee that pensioner benefits are protected, including the winter fuel payment and free bus passes, as well as restoring free TV licences for over-75s cut by the Tories. Combined with tackling soaring energy bills, we will ensure that older people are no longer faced with being unable to heat their homes in winter.
Nearly a third of UK workers are over-50 and in recognition of this Dawn Butler, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, has announced plans to transform the workplace for older workers, including the right to choose working hours that fit around caring responsibilities, and require employers to introduce a menopause workplace policy.
Our housebuilding programme will ensure that older people who wish to downsize can do so, and the next generation – our children and grandchildren – have a place to call home.
Our 'Pensioners Pledge Card' will include plans to:
• Restore 3,000 bus routes that have been cut under the Tories.
• Compensate the nearly four million women that lost out unfairly when the change in the state pension age was changed without fair notice.
• Invest in Warm Homes for All with insulation for every home.
My pledge to you is that Labour will ensure peace of mind and dignity to the older generation in the workplace, in retirement and in social care.
A brighter future for everyone
by JO SWINSON
We are living longer today than we ever have before. How societies adapt to be ‘older’ is one of the defining challenges of the 21st century.
‘Ageing’ isn’t just about older people. It’s about all of us, our future selves and how we want society to adapt to reflect the profound change that longer lives represent.
Everyone should be able to live in comfort when they retire and have access to the high-quality care they need.
That is why the Liberal Democrats introduced the Pensions Triple Lock when we were in Government. We ensured the basic state pension rises by at least 2.5 per cent every year and we have committed to maintaining the Triple Lock.
With the nature of work changing so fast, we will support everyone to continue learning and training throughout their lives. We will create new Skills Wallets for every adult, giving them £10,000 to spend on education and training.
We all rely on the NHS. But with shortages in the number of nurses and doctors, social care provision in crisis, and the impact of Brexit, there is a lot of anxiety around whether help will be there when you need it. That’s why we will tackle the problems head on by putting 1p on income tax, raising an extra £7 billion a year for health and social care. We will also stop Brexit and establish a cross-party health and social care convention to secure the future of social care.
We will insulate every home by 2030, prioritising low-income households by 2025. We will deliver warmer homes, with an average saving of £550 for a family’s energy bill and end fuel poverty.
Liberal Democrats will build a brighter future for everyone, where everyone can grow old happily and healthily.