May 20, 2017 / 9:19 PM / in 6 months

Polls show UK's Conservatives losing ground as policies set out

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Theresa May’s lead in the opinion polls has narrowed after her Conservatives and the Labour opposition published their policy plans this week, with one survey showing the gap between the two parties halving to nine points.

Prime Minister Theresa May goes canvassing with local Conservative candidate Joy Morrissey in Ealing, London, Britain May 20, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

May had been on course for a landslide with a majority of up to 150 seats, opinion polls had indicated in the early stages of campaigning ahead of the June 8 national vote.

Four polls on Saturday however showed the Conservatives with an expected vote share of between 44 and 46 percent, still easily ahead of the Labour Party on 33 to 35 percent, but pointing to a smaller projected majority of about 40 seats.

A YouGov poll showed her lead had halved to 9 points in a week.

On Thursday May launched pledges for the government to adopt a more interventionist stance in an attempt to attract traditional Labour supporters.

She also set out plans to transfer a greater share of the cost of caring for elderly people from taxpayers to those who can afford to pay for their own care, including property owners who are the basis of support for her party, and to restrict a currently universal winter fuel payment for older people.

YouGov found that 40 percent of the public were opposed to the policy changes for the elderly, while 35 percent were supportive, the Sunday Times said.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the Conservative’s policies would set the young against the old in a “war between generations”.

He claimed pensioners will be 330 pounds ($430) a year worse off under the plans set out in the Tory manifesto.

His party’s policies promised to renationalize mail, rail and water services, increase tax on the highest earners and clamp down on corporate excess.

May attempted to turn the focus of her campaign back on the Labour leader on Saturday. “The cold hard fact is that if I lose just six seats I will lose this election, and Jeremy Corbyn will be sitting down to negotiate with the presidents, prime ministers and chancellors of Europe,” she said in a Facebook post.

She set out her plans for the economy as Britain enters thorny two-year divorce negotiations with the 27 other members of the European Union, and has called an election purportedly to strengthen her hand in those talks.

Reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary; Editing by Paul Sandle

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