'Why should Mick Jagger benefit?' Labour blasted after criticising May's winter fuel plan

A day after the Tories revealed their manifesto, John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, was grilled at a press conference over why the Labour party backed universally paying out to pensioners regardless of their wealth. 

Defending their decision to back the payments for all, Mr McDonnell claimed long forms could deter people from applying should it be means-tested. 

Their stance is in stark contrast to the Conservatives, who have pledged to means-test the payment so only the poorest benefit and the richest will see it slashed. 

Mr McDonnell was quizzed live on Sky News: “Why should the likes of Mick Jagger or Alan Sugar get £300 a year from the taxpayer when that could be spent on working age people which you and Jeremy Corbyn championed? 

“Would you not like to see any restrictions at all on the winter fuel payment?”

The MP for Hayes and Harlington said: “The whole point of introducing a non-means tested benefit is because means-tested benefits actually do have a deterrent effect on claim.

“And we’ve seen that on pensioner credits, a third who are entitled to pensioner credits not claiming.

“Largely because means testing is often so complex. The pensioner credit form is 19 pages long.

“So historically its demonstrable that universal benefits actually reach the people that need it better. 

“And those people who have higher incomes pay through their taxes and that’s the way you introduce fairness into the system overall. 

“We’re putting at risk large numbers of pensioners this winter if the Tories get re-elected. 

“So that’s why we’re demanding, actually, that they withdraw this proposal immediately.”

This is despite Sir Alan, 70, well known through his reality TV show The Apprentice, is estimated to be worth £1.4billion.

Rolling Stones frontman Sir Mick, 73, is estimated to be worth £235million. 

Currently pensioners receive up to £300 a year to help with the cost of heating their homes. 

The Tories have yet to outline where the threshold will be drawn, but millions could be affected in their manifesto pledge to curb the payments for the wealthiest. 

The three major parties, the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats have all published their manifestos ahead of the election on June 8. 

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