May 20, 2017, 2:30 p.m.
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Jeremy Corbyn has accused the Conservative Party of risking a “war between generations” with a manifesto that pitches young against old.
Addressing activists at a rally in Birmingham, the Labour leader called on Theresa May to ditch an “anti-pensioner package” which inflicted a “triple whammy of misery” on older voters by cutting protections for the state pension, means-testing the winter fuel allowance and forcing them to pay for home care.
But he insisted that a better deal for pensioners must not come at the expense of the “left-behind generation” of younger people, but should be funded through higher taxes on top earners and big business.
“There is no trade-off between young and old – and there should be no trade-off,” Mr Corbyn said.
“Society should not be setting the future of our young against security for the old. We have the wealth to offer a decent, secure life for all.”
Setting out Labour plans to abolish university tuition fees and build homes for young people, Mr Corbyn said his vision was “not a war between generations, it’s a unity between generations to create a better society for all”.
He said: “Labour’s proposals will ask the top 5 per cent of earners and the big corporations to pay a bit more, to help address these problems.
“That way we can make sure that young people can get homes and pensioners can heat their houses in winter.
“That way students can leave college without a huge burden of debt and older people can have their income protected through the ‘triple lock’, which only Labour will guarantee.”
Mr Corbyn was cheered as he told supporters that “we are moving on to win this election”, and claimed that the Conservative campaign was “unravelling” as voters examined their policies.
“Get on any bus, get on any train, go in any cafe, talk to people,” he said. “The whole discussion and the whole debate is unravelling from the Tory point of view, because people are saying ‘Hang on, why are so many young people in such stress? Why are so many older people being threatened by this government? Can’t we as a society, as a country, as a people do things differently and better?
“I tell you what – we will.”
Mr Corbyn urged young people to ensure that they were registered to vote by the deadline of midnight on Monday, so they could cast a ballot in the June 8th general election.
His call was echoed by EastEnders actress Maddy Hill, who welcomed him onstage as “our next prime minister”.
There was a raucous atmosphere in Birmingham’s International Convention Centre, where Mr Corbyn was welcomed by loud chants of “Jezza, Jezza”.
One supporter shouted “get them out” and “evil scum” when the Tories were mentioned. But most of the 2,000 or so present focused their efforts on showing their support for the speakers.
There were loud cheers when shadow chancellor John McDonnell pointed out that Labour’s manifesto is fully costed, unlike the Conservative document which was published without costings.