politics

Boris Johnson 'selling out the North' to protect London millionaires, says Angela Rayner


Labour’s deputy leader to launch a fierce attack on the Conservatives’ social care “con” and the scaling back of Northern Powerhouse Rail

Boris Johnson is “selling out the North” in order to protect millionaires in London and the South East, Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner will claim in a blistering attack on the PM.

Speaking at the party’s North West conference starting in Blackpool on Saturday, the senior politician will take aim at the Government’s “con” social care reforms, the scaling back of high-speed rail plans for the North and breaking the pensions triple lock.

Ms Rayner, who represents Ashton, in Greater Manchester, will say that the government’s rail plan is a “betrayal of trust, a betrayal of promises made to our communities and a betrayal of the North”, proving that “the Northern Powerhouse is a lie”.

It comes after MPs backed social care reform which will mean two thirds of poorer Northern homeowners pay more towards their care, while London and the South East will feel no impact.

The change means subsidised care will not count towards the lifetime of maximum £86,000.

Labour says homeowners with high care needs but property worth less than £186,000 will be hit with higher costs, while those with homes worth more than that will be unaffected.

Ms Rayner called the move a “dementia tax on working class people and a dementia tax on the North” adding that ministers are “forcing pensioners in the North to sell their homes to protect millionaires in their mansions in London and the South East” and “robbing Ashton to protect Ashford”.







Boris Johnson speaks during a visit to the Network Rail hub at Gascoigne Wood as the government announces its Integrated Rail plan
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REUTERS)

“The government’s Health and Social Care Bill isn’t a plan – it is a social care con,” she is expected to say. “It’s a dementia tax on the North and on the poorest in our society.“It will force pensioners in the North and pensioners on the lowest incomes and with the least wealth to sell their homes. And Ministers are doing this to protect millionaires in their mansions in London and the South East.

“This con will hammer people living in houses worth less than £186,000.“There are 107 constituencies in the North of England where the average house price is less than £186,000. There are 0 in London and the South East.

“So let’s call this what it is. This is an inheritance tax on the North. This is an inheritance tax on the poorest pensioners to protect the wealth of millionaires.

“A pensioner in my constituency who has worked all their life to pay off their mortgage will lose almost everything they own and have worked so hard for all their lives. But a millionaire in a mansion in Richmond or in Surrey will lose less than 9% of the value of their house.“This is robbing Ashton to protect Ashford and hammering Hyde to help out Henley.”

The Government has said the Tories have pushed through long-needed social care reforms and claims many will benefit from the cap.

Ms Rayner will also attack the government for ignoring northerners struggling with rail infrastructure that is still “stuck in the last century”.

It comes after it was confirmed the integrated rail plan saw a high-speed rail line between Manchester and Leeds scrapped.

“The government’s Rail Plan is a betrayal of trust, a betrayal of promises made to our communities and a betrayal of the North,” Keir Starmer’s deputy will say.

“This plan is a disgraceful sell out. Boris Johnson has proven that the Northern Powerhouse is a lie. We were promised it 7 years ago and it’s been announced more than 60 times in press releases since.

“Only the Conservatives would call a train line that stops on this side of the Pennines a Trans Pennine rail line. It’s like the Eurostar stopping at Dover and then you get on a Pacer train across the Channel.

“I’m a proud Manc, but I’m a proud Northerner too and the North exits outside of the M60 ring road.“That might be news to the Chancellor.

“He’s still on the “B” page of his A-Z trying to work out the difference between Burnley and Bury.“Leeds has been forgotten but so has Lancashire. So has Cumbria. So have our towns and cities across the North West.

“We’ve heard a lot about cutting down journey times to London. But what about connecting the towns of East Lancashire and Cumbria to Manchester. What about connecting our towns and our smaller cities to our “core cities” like Leeds, Liverpool or Newcastle?“

Ministers have said the £96bn integrated rail plan represented a huge investment in infrastructure.

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