In past columns, I’ve written a lot about the pain younger generations have suffered since the Conservatives took power. Not without reason, these generations are the first in modern times to receive a worse deal than that of their parents. Whether it’s cuts to Education and the massive increase in University fees, being unable to access home ownership or council housing, the collapse of working conditions which leaves growing numbers hovering around the poverty line, and now a hike in National Insurance to protect inheritances for those with over £86,000 in the bank. You wonder why young people don’t vote Conservative?
What I’ve struggled to understand is why older generations do vote Conservative. True, the older you get the less you need to have decent working conditions and chances are you already have somewhere to live, but you’re also more dependent upon an NHS increasingly being run into the ground and the Conservatives’ failure to provide a genuine solution for social care leaves many of our elderly living their final years in misery.
I guess, increases in tax-funded benefits for older generations, such as the triple-lock guarantee, do help to mask some of this from pensioners. Or at least until next Monday, when pensioners will see the value of their payments fall to their lowest point in 50 years, as the Conservatives opt to make a substantial real-terms cut in the value of all benefits and introduce a major rise in pensioner poverty, something all-but eliminated under the last Labour Government.
It’s not the only sign of the Conservatives’ new War on the Elderly. While people are now familiar with the TV licences being removed, plans were announced for issuing 60-65 year olds with £100 Penalty Charge Notices if they failed to realise what medicines the Conservatives no longer allowing them to have for free. It’s beyond a joke For four General Elections, pensioners have been the Conservatives’ strongest supporters. Like all Conservative supporters that support is now taken for granted. They don’t believe pensioners will ever vote against them and until they’re proven wrong, this new war won’t stop.
Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council