Theresa May U-turns on Tory social care plans after 'Dementia Tax' backlash

Posted On: 
22nd May 2017

Theresa May today announced there will be a cap on how much people have to pay if they need social care as she ripped up a key plank of the Tory election manifesto just days after it was published.

Theresa May announced the change of heart in a speech in Wrexham.
Credit: 
Sky News

In a stunning U-turn, the Prime Minister said she wanted to "clarify" Conservative plans which have been dubbed a "Dementia Tax" by their opponents.

Under the proposals unveiled last Thursday in her party's manifesto, people would have to pay for their social care if they had assets worth more than £100,000. However, there was no mention that the cost would be capped.

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Critics said it would force those suffering from conditions like Alzheimer's Disease to sell their homes in order to meet their bills.

The plans faced a furious backlash, including from senior Tories, and saw the Tories' opinion poll lead plummet.

Speaking at the launch of the Tories' Welsh manifesto in Wrexham, Mrs May said her manifesto proposals "provide the beginning of a solution to social care without increasing taxes on younger generations".

But she added: "Since my manifesto was published, the proposals have been subject to fake claims made by Jeremy Corbyn. The only things he has left to offer in this campaign are fake claims, fear and scare mongering.  So I want to make a further point clear.  This manifesto says that we will come forward with a consultation paper, a government green paper. And that consultation will include an absolute limit on the amount people have to pay for their care costs. 

"So let me reiterate. We are proposing the right funding model for social care.  We will make sure nobody has to sell their family home to pay for care.  We will make sure there’s an absolute limit on what people need to pay.  And you will never have to go below £100,000 of your savings, so you will always have something to pass on to your family."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: "A Tory U-turn on social care would be extremely welcome, because I want this country to face up to its responsibilities to those who need care, either frail or elderly, those with special needs, those with severe disabilities, those with learning difficulties.

"Our proposals are that we will refund social care, putting emergency money into it now so those million people waiting for social care don’t wait. And we won’t get involved in this horrible policy the Tories are putting forward which will actually damage families and family income, damage people, break up relationships, all kinds of horrible things will happen from their very dangerously ill-thought out social care policy"

COLLAPSE

Earlier it emerged the Conservatives had bought online adverts so that people searching for “dementia tax” were pointed towards a Tory website.

The page – which was the first result on Google - featured a Q&A titled “The Conservatives’ social care plans – the facts”, which made no mention of the Green Paper or a consultation over the summer.

Instead, it made the case for the Tory changes, claiming that the pressures of an ageing society would “collapse our system if we fail to act now”.

The site added: “There are no easy answers. Social care is one of the giant challenges that we face as a nation.

“That's why we have put forward the first proper plan that will sustain the system. Not to act, or to just play politics with the issue by pretending that it's easily solved, is irresponsible. Instead we have chosen to act, in the national interest.”