Theresa May U-turns on manifesto after 'Dementia Tax' backlash

Written by Tom Freeman, Kevin Schofield and Josh May on 22 May 2017 in News

May announces 'absolute limit' on so-called 'dementia tax' but fails to say how much it will be in manifesto climbdown

Theresa May - Stefan Rousseau/PA 

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

In a defensive press conference the Prime Minister insisted "nothing has changed" and that she wanted to "clarify" Conservative plans which have been dubbed a "Dementia Tax" by their opponents.

But her announcement there would an "absolute limit" to how much would be taken after someone dies to pay for their care bill was not in the party's manifesto launched days ago.


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

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt had told Radio 4 the UK Government was being "completely explicit" about dropping the cap on social care costs.

But today May said: "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."

Former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg called it a "manifesto meltdown", while Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s election coordinator, 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?"

SNP Depute Leader Angus Robertson said: “This is an utter humiliation for Theresa May, and the U-turn betrays the reality of the Tory leadership – that of a weak and wobbling Prime Minister. 

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