Tory manifesto offers ‘sick and sneaky’ pledges, McDonnell says

19 May

John McDonnell has dismissed the Conservative party manifesto as a “sick and sneaky … blank cheque” that boosts Labour’s chances of winning the election.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the shadow chancellor contrasted the uncosted Tory manifesto promises with Labour’s fully funded manifesto pledges.

Regarding Labour’s election prospects, McDonnell said: “I think we are going to win, and we are going to win it on the basis of the positive hope we’re giving people, rather than this vague blank cheque that Theresa May has demanded.”

“We are rising in the polls and now that people have seen this Tory manifesto, I tell you, 10 million pensioners out there will be very angry, large numbers of young people will be angry because there is no future in this manifesto.”

McDonnell claimed the Tory manifesto contained 60 uncosted commitments, leaving the public facing an uncertain future under the Tories.

“With our manifesto I laid out a report with detailed costing for every policy and where the funding source was. That enabled us to be honest with people to say this is what we are going to do, here’s how much it is going to cost, and here’s how I’m going to raise the funds.”

He said the only assurance offered by the Conservatives was that they would cut corporation tax to big businesses. “She [Theresa May] has dumped the tax lock. That means if they get re-elected, people are insecure because taxes could go up: income tax could go up, national insurance could go up, it could hit employers as well as workers.

“This is a blank cheque. You would not let someone go off to the supermarket with a blank cheque, take things off the shelves and not tell you how much they are going to pay for them. It’s ridiculous.”

McDonnell said the Conservatives’ plan to means-test winter fuel payments was “absolutely sick and sneaky. They know that a third of people who qualify for pensioner credits don’t claim. They also know that we’ve got 1.7 million pensioners living in poverty. They also know a million of them are in fuel poverty. As soon as you start means testing, large numbers don’t claim even though they need it, because it is so complicated.”

McDonnelllabelled as a “dementia tax” the Conservative plans to force individuals to pay for their own social care costs until they have £100,000 worth of assets left.

“We should return to the Dilnot proposals, which proposed having a cap and then you pool the risk across the whole of society rather than on individuals.

“In that way you take away this fear that if they get a serious condition like dementia they would be penalised. It is about universalism. That phrase ‘we are all in this together’. That’s the basis of our welfare state in which we pool risk because that is more effectively done.”

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