Shadow chancellor John McDonnell says taking £300 annual payment away from millions of pensioners would contribute to rise in winter deaths.
The Conservatives’ policy of means testing the winter fuel allowance for pensioners could contribute to almost 4,000 extra deaths this winter, Labour has said.
Theresa May said removing the annual payment of up to £300 a year from all but the poorest pensioners would release funds that could be pumped into the social care system.
But the shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, published analysis which he said showed almost 4,000 more pensioners’ lives would be at risk through being unable to heat their homes.
No level was given for the means test in the manifesto, published last month, but the Resolution Foundation thinktank suggested one straightforward approach would be to give the payment only to those who receive pension credit, the means-tested benefit for the poorest pensioners.
That would mean 10 million people who currently receive the annual payment missing out – though Labour claims the true figure could be higher, since many who are eligible for pension credit do not claim it.
McDonnell said: “There are now only three days until polls open in this election, and the truth about the Tories’ plans for older people in our country needs to be known. Re-electing the Tories will represent the single biggest attack on pensioners in a generation in our country.