Theresa May was forced into a humiliating U-turn today (May 22) over the Tories’ “dementia tax” manifesto pledge – just four days after she announced it.
May rowed back after it became apparent there was widespread public dislike of the ill-conceived policy, which would have meant that individuals with less than £100,000 worth of assets would not have to pay for their social care.
However, at-home care would have become means-tested in the same way as residential care, resulting in many more working people having to pay with their homes after their deaths.
The policy would have been particularly unfair to those suffering with long-term care-intensive conditions such as dementia.
Such was the backlash to the policy, the Tory leader was forced to announce an extraordinary reversal during a speech launching the Welsh Tory manifesto in Wrexham.
May said, “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.”
Following the dramatic reversal, May caused further confusion when she refused to reveal the maximum amount an individual would have to pay for their care, saying instead that there would be a “consultation” on the limit.
‘Nothing has changed’
As May tried to pretend the announcement was not a U-turn, she falsely claimed, “Nothing has changed!”
Even more bizarrely, May resorted to school-yard tactics by blaming Jeremy Corbyn in a desperate attempt to deflect the facts.
She said, “He wants to sneak over the line by manipulating the fears of old and vulnerable people – and falsely claiming that families will lose their house as a result of our social care policy.”
Jeremy Corbyn hit back at the floundering Tory leader, saying, “You can’t trust a word Theresa May says. This is a government in chaos and confusion.”
The dramatic turn-around came just 24 hours after a Tory minister said the Conservatives would stick by the “dementia tax”.
When asked “if there was any chance at all” the Tories’ would drop the policy, work and pensions secretary Damian Green replied, “No.”
‘Chaotic and cruel’
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said, “This latest U-turn gives us an insight into life under Theresa May’s Tories, chaotic and cruel.
“It is astonishing that with a little over two weeks to go the Tory policy on social care has collapsed. For those caring for their elderly parents or for retirees worrying about their future, the Tories have brought further worry and little hope of secure, quality care in old age.”
He added, “The dementia tax is a sorry echo of those other hated Tory taxes – the poll tax and the bedroom tax – and is a reminder that under the Tories, life is always tougher for working people.
“Only Labour offers any clarity now on social care, pledging to create a national care service to deliver dignity for all our elderly.”
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