Jeremy Corbyn accuses Theresa May of putting tax cuts for businesses ahead of care for elderly and disabled
Labour leader demands to know why businesses will receive £7.5bn in corporation tax cuts – while one million elderly people miss out on social care
Huge tax cuts for big business must be scrapped to tackle the UK's social care crisis, Jeremy Corbyn told Theresa May on Wednesday.
The Labour leader attacked the Prime Minister for planning to hand over £7.5bn in corporation tax cuts by 2020 – while care for the elderly and disabled crumbles.
During Prime Minister’s Questions, he demanded to know why Ms May was “handing back £605m in corporation tax cuts, rising to £1.6bn the year after that – and £7.5bn over the next five years”.
Mr Corbyn pointed out the cut would come while there were “one million elderly people not getting the care they need and four million on NHS waiting lists”.
And he said: “Why is there not one penny extra for the NHS or social care? Just what is this government’s real sense of priorities?”
The attack came amid mounting pressure on the government to rethink its refusal to put more money into social care – including from, significantly, worried Conservative MPs and council leaders.
Some Tory backbenchers have spoken of an “impending financial crisis”, suggesting the ‘triple-lock’ on pensions should be abandoned to ease the strain on local councils.
They are privately warning that the government could face a revolt similar to the successful tax credit rebellion, if more cash is not brought forward.
And last week, Izzie Secombe, the Conservative leader of Warwickshire County Council warned of the “tragic human cost” on elderly and vulnerable people.
However, Ms May hit back, insisting “social care funding is going up”, while Labour had pledged to freeze cash for local councils at the last election.
She told MPs, to loud Tory cheers: “Conservatives putting money into the NHS and social care – Labour would deny it.”
The Treasury has insisted councils will gain an extra £3.5bn of social care funding by 2020, money diverted from the NHS under the ‘Better Care Fund’.
It has also pointed to the ability of town halls to levy a two per cent precept on council tax bills, ring-fenced for social care.
But critics say the injection barely covers the extra cost of the higher minimum wage - and that the precept will bring in far less in poorer areas, with weaker council tax bases.
Later, the Prime Minister’s spokeswoman suggested no extra cash was coming, telling journalists: “We've set out funding that we're providing over the course of this Parliament.”
Last week, Philip Hammond, the Chancellor, confirmed his predecessor George Osborne's plan to take corporation tax down to just 17 per cent, the lowest in the world’s 20 biggest economies.
And, in a speech, Ms May hinted the ambition was to match or beat the 15 per cent promise made for the US by President-elect Donald Trump.
The Conservatives believe such cuts prove to be a revenue-raiser – by attracting extra business investment – but this is fiercely disputed by critics.
Independent News Service