IN A DRAMATIC forced retreat prime minister Theresa May yesterday dumped her key policy on social care in the Tory election manifesto.
The anger of millions of workers and middle class families forced her to tear up the party’s manifesto which had the elderly paying the costs of social care until they had £100,000 of assets left. After dumping this policy yesterday, May announced at a campaign event in Wales that a cap will be restored.
She said there will be a consulation Green Paper which ‘will have an absolute limit’ on social care costs. However the electorate are unlikely to take her new proposal on trust!
The Tory Party is now split and divided. On Sunday work and pensions secretary Damian Green had said there would be ‘no rowing back’ and slammed the idea of a cap on costs, saying resources were spread in the wrong way.
May told reporters yesterday: ‘We will have an upper limit, an absolute limit on the amount people pay for social care. But the basic principles remain absolutely the same as when they were put in the manifesto and announced last week. But nobody is going to have to pay for their care while they are alive. Nobody is going to have to have their family home sold while they’re living in it. And everybody will be able to pass £100,000 on to their families.’
Asked what level the cap would be set at, she said that would be a matter for the consultation. Stabbing May in the back shortly after her announcement, former Chancellor George Osborne, now editor of the Evening Standard, tweeted that the move was a U-turn.
A comment in the paper yesterday said: ‘We had a weekend of wobbles that presumably prompted today’s U-turn.’ Health secretary Jeremy Hunt had told reporters he was opposed to a cap as it was unfair.
However, he told yesterday’s Evening Standard: ‘We want to make sure that people who have worked hard and saved up all their lifetimes, do not have to worry about losing all their assets through a disease as random as dementia. That’s why we want to introduce an absolute limit on the amount of money anyone has to pay for their care.’
Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s Election Co-ordinator, ‘responding to the unravelling of the Tories’ social care policy,’ said: ‘Theresa May has thrown her own election campaign into chaos and confusion. She is unable to stick to her own manifesto for more than four days.
‘And by failing to put a figure for a cap on social care costs, she has only added to the uncertainty for millions of older people and their families. This is weak and unstable leadership. You can’t trust the Tories – if this is how they handle their own manifesto, how will they cope with the Brexit negotiations?’
The GMB union branded the Tory manifesto ‘a shambles’. Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said: ‘How can you trust Theresa May when she makes a U-turn on her own manifesto just days after the Tories launched it? Theresa May’s social care policy is now a total shambles. It’s caused chaos – they haven’t even said what the cap will be.
‘She can’t be trusted to give dignity and fairness to the elderly and the sick.
‘This unbelievable volte-face really does leave the Conservatives’ line about being “strong and stable” in tatters – it shows a wobbly Theresa May and a weak government.’