Who should older Labour supporters be voting for?

The leadership candidates offer varying degrees of support to the over-50s

 

There’s no denying that Tory policy can be heavily skewed toward benefiting the elderly.

With the older generation more likely to turn out to the polling station on Election Day, it’s not surprising that keeping them sweet is high up their priority list.

But this remains an afterthought for the Labour Party. With the leadership process underway, and the party at something of a crossroads, the impact on pensioners – their retirement savings and what the party can offer to the elderly – has been forgotten again, with the media instead focusing on mud-slinging between the opponents, attacking candidates and bafflingly, desperate propaganda.

So what could the new leader mean for the over-50s?

Liz Kendall

As shadow minister for care and older people, the well-being of the elder generation could play a big part in Labour’s policies should Kendall be elected as the party’s next leader.

She has already discussed shifting the focus of the NHS away from an infectious disease and accident-focused, hospital-based system, combining the current health service with a more care-focussed approach.

And the fact that some are labelling her ‘Tory-lite’ could mean that the market holds strong, which would be good news for pension savings and investments.

However, she has asked for a review into the ‘£100bn of tax reliefs’ in a bid to close the fiscal gap: should this get underway, certain tax reliefs could be cut.

Andy Burnham

Burnham attacked the Tory party ahead of the General Election for ‘letting older people down’.

Alongside shadow Work and Pensions secretary Rachel Reeves, he outlined several plans for older people that, should he come to lead the party, he would no doubt look to implement.

These include protecting the triple lock state pension to ensure pension subsidy from the state rises according to living costs each year, and ensuring no changes to free TV licences or bus passes.

However, Labour had pledged to cut the Winter Fuel Allowance from the top earning 5 per cent of pensioners, a move that could be carried across as one of Burnham’s policies.

Jeremy Corbyn

The current leadership favourite has just been dealt quite the boost to his campaign, with economics experts endorsing his so-called ‘Corbynomics’ and his opposition to austerity as mainstream economics.

But Corbyn likely won’t be a popular leader with the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation, particularly those wealthy in assets. His plans to increase taxation for the wealthy could have severe financial implications when it comes to them taking advantage of their savings.

Yvette Cooper

Like Liz Kendall, Cooper is keen to integrate the NHS with social care services. By restricting zero hour contacts, she also hopes to stop the culture of 15-minute social care visits for the elderly.

She hit out at Corbyn for stating that investors would not be compensated should privatised industries be handed back to the state – a move that she says would severely damage pension investments.

While Cooper’s policies focus heavily on working families and the housing crisis, like the other candidates her manifesto makes no specific reference to pensioners and what the labour party can do for them.

 

Tim Starkey recently questioned whether the Labour party has anything left to offer the elderly – and this is something that all the candidates should be looking to address.

While they need to inspire the voters that they lost to the SNP, UKIP, and even the Conservatives in this year’s election, failing to inspire the core voting demographic could lead to another disastrous result for the party in 2020, no matter who’s leading.

Ryan Smith writes on behalf of My Retirement Options. He is part of the content development team at Local Financial Advice.

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