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Shropshire's pensioners are afraid to get old


Our outstanding Labour candidate for Ludlow constituency Dr Julia Buckley has been visiting people from Bishop's Castle to Bridgnorth, hearing from concerned older people who are worried about the Tory 'Dementia Tax'.

During canvassing in Church Stretton last Thursday concerns were raised about adult social care costs for pensioners, and also about the potential loss of access to their library, due to be moved into private hands due to its relocation into Church Stretton School, now an academy.   

On Friday Julia helped out at ‘Good Soup & Good Company’, a soup kitchen in Castle Hall in Bridgnorth, where again she heard worries about the loneliness and social isolation of older people.

Saturday saw Julia talking to constituents at Clun farmers’ market, then Bishop’s Castle produce market, before dropping in on a Broseley coffee morning.   Julia said, “These events are vital to rural communities, providing people with the chance to come together.  I heard many worries however – about the lack of rural public transport, which impacts on young people aged 16-18 struggling to get access to 6th form colleges for A levels; and in Broseley having to pay £900 to attend college, and by needing to walk two miles before catching a bus to Shrewsbury.  And once again, in every place, I heard from worried pensioners who’ve been told their houses are at risk if they need care in later life.  People are being faced with the terrible reality that, under the Conservatives, if you live too long, your children will inherit nothing.”

Conservative and Coalition cuts mean spending on adult social care has fallen by about 10% since 2010.  The manifesto plans for a ‘Dementia Tax’ will leave people facing bigger bill and may represent the biggest stealth tax in history normalising equity release on their family homes with most of their estate going to the government.   Julia says: “Theresa May’s U turn on Monday to provide a consultation on a possible cap, still means we are unclear as to the exact nature of the bill. The Conservatives hope they can get your vote and then consult.”

In Ludlow constituency it is estimated that 89% of pensioners will lose the winter fuel allowance if the Conservatives win the General Election.  Labour will keep Winter Fuel Payments and free bus passes for everyone over the age of 60. Labour will also ensure that there is no rise in the State Pension age beyond 66, and will give the NHS and social care the funding they need, making it easier for people to access the help and health care they may need.

Julia says: “Pensioners all the way from Bridgnorth to Bishops Castle are concerned about losing their homes in the lottery for dementia care for the over 65s.  Our older people fear loneliness and isolation, and in particular since the publication of the Conservative Manifesto they are worried about the loss of the Triple Lock on state pensions, and on top of that the loss of the winter fuel allowance.  We are the fifth richest country in the world – we should not be abandoning our older people.”

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