On the 8th of June we will all be heading to the poll booths for what is turning into quite a regular outing in the UK. If the 2015 general election and the 2016 referendum wasn’t enough voting for you, then you get to do it all again in this year’s snap general election.
Whatever your politics, there is no denying that we are going through some politically charged times and every vote will matter in this election. You might already know who you are voting for, you might have a favourite local MP, or you might be wondering which party will best look after your interests for the next few years.
Of course, you should read through the leaflets from your local candidates, but we have been looking through the manifestos of the main parties and have pulled out the points that will most affect Homewise’s customers. Read on to find out what each manifesto says about pensions, property and care.
Pensions and benefits
The Conservatives have committed to the triple lock on pensions until 2020, then switch over to a new “double lock”. Winter fuel payments will be means tested, but all other benefits will remain. Labour have guaranteed the triple lock and benefits. They have also pledged to protect the women affected by the state pension age changes. The liberal democrats will keep the triple lock, means test the winter fuel payments and review the pension tax relief system.
Conservatives p. 61 - 66
“We will keep our promise to maintain the Triple Lock until 2020, and when it expires we will introduce a new Double Lock, meaning that pensions will rise in line with the earnings that pay for them, or in line with inflation – whichever is highest”
“We will means-test Winter Fuel Payments”
“We will maintain all other pensioner benefits, including free bus passes, eye tests, prescriptions and TV licences, for the duration of this parliament.”
Labour p. 54 - 55
“Labour will guarantee the state pension ‘triple lock’ throughout the next Parliament. It will rise by at least 2.5 per cent a year or be increased to keep pace with inflation or earnings, whichever is higher.”
“The Winter Fuel Allowance and free bus passes will also be guaranteed as universal benefits.”
“We will protect the pensions of UK citizens living overseas in the EU or further afield.”
“Over 2.5 million women born in the 1950s have had their state pension age changed without fair notification. These women deserve both recognition for the injustice they have suffered and some kind of compensation for their losses.”
“Alongside our commitment to extend Pension Credit to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable women, Labour is exploring options for further transitional protections, to ensure that all these women have security and dignity in older age.”
“Labour will legislate so that accrued rights to the basic state pension cannot be changed, but future benefits can.”
“The pension age is due to rise to 66 by the end of 2020. Labour rejects the Conservatives’ proposal to increase the state pension age even further. We will commission a new review of the pension age, specifically tasked with developing a retirement policy to reflect both the contributions made by people, the wide variations in life expectancy, and the arduous conditions of some work.”
Liberal Democrats p. 60
“Maintain the ‘triple lock’ of increasing the state pension each year by the highest of earnings growth, prices growth or 2.5% for the next parliament.”
“Withdraw eligibility for the Winter Fuel Payment from pensioners who pay tax at the higher rate (40%). We will retain the free bus pass for all pensioners.”
“Establish a review to consider the case for, and practical implications of, introducing a single rate of tax relief for pensions, which would be designed to be simpler and fairer and would be set more generously than the current 20% basic rate relief.”
All parties have pledged to build more houses and more council houses. Labour and the Liberal Democrats have also pledged to improve insulation of homes and improve energy efficiency. The Conservatives and Labour have pledged to provide more suitable housing for older people.
Conservatives p 70 - 72
“We will meet our 2015 commitment to deliver a million homes by the end of 2020 and we will deliver half a million more by the end of 2022.”
“More homes will not mean poor quality homes.”
“That means supporting high-quality, high-density housing like mansion blocks, mews houses and terraced streets.”
“It means supporting specialist housing where it is needed, like multigenerational homes and housing for older people, including by helping housing associations increase their specialist housing stock.”
“We will enter into new Council Housing Deals with ambitious, pro-development, local authorities to help them build more social housing.”
Labour p. 59 - 63
“Labour will invest to build over a million new homes. By the end of the next Parliament we will be building at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for genuinely affordable rent or sale.”
“We will insulate more homes to help people manage the cost of energy bills, to reduce preventable winter deaths, and to meet our climate change targets.”
“We will ensure that local plans address the need for older people’s housing, ensuring that choice and downsizing options are readily available.”
Liberal Democrats p. 49 – 50 and 60 – 61
“We will ensure that half a million affordable, energy-efficient homes are built by the end of the parliament.”
“Improve renting by banning lettings fees for tenants, capping upfront deposits and increasing minimum standards in rented homes.”
“Promote longer tenancies of three years or more with an inflation-linked annual rent increase built in, to give tenants security and limit rent hikes.”
The Conservatives are looking to means test care and include the value of the home in that test. However, the sale of the home won’t happen in a person’s lifetime. Labour are looking to set up a National Care Service in England and increase the care budget to £8 billion over the course of the parliament. The Liberal Democrats are looking to incorporate health and social care budgets on a local level.
Conservatives p. 64 - 66
“First, we will align the future basis for means-testing for domiciliary care with that for residential care, so that people are looked after in the place that is best for them. This will mean that the value of the family home will be taken into account along with other assets and income, whether care is provided at home, or in a residential or nursing care home.”
“Second, to ensure this is fair, we will introduce a single capital floor, set at £100,000, more than four times the current means test threshold. This will ensure that, no matter how large the cost of care turns out to be, people will always retain at least £100,000 of their savings and assets, including value in the family home.”
“Third, we will extend the current freedom to defer payments for residential care to those receiving care at home, so no-one will have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for care.”
Labour p. 71 - 72
“In our first term, Labour will lay the foundations of a National Care Service for England.”
“Our first urgent task will be to address the immediate funding crisis. We will increase the social care budgets by a further £8 billion over the lifetime of the next Parliament, including an additional £1 billion for the first year.”
Liberal Democrats p. 20
“Finish the job of implementing a cap on the cost of social care.”
“Move towards single place-based budgets for health and social care by 2020, allowing local areas to decide how best to provide the full spectrum of care for their community.”
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