Tories rattled over backlash from dementia tax ‘cash grab’ on elderly 


Theresa May shouts “Nothing has changed!” at journalists for criticising ‘Dementia Tax’ policy

THE MAJOR TORY ELECTION POLICY of social care reform – chastised as “the biggest stealth tax in history” by opponents – has caused chaos in the party campaign, with desperate measures taken to reverse criticism and divisions over the policy. 

Dubbed the ‘Dementia Tax’, Tory proposals to charge old people for social care from any acquired assets – both cash and property values – led to a desperate U-turn from Prime Minister Theresa May, and the Tories buying-up online advertising space to defend the policy. 

The Tory manifesto claimed it would reform social care by using the “considerable property assets” acquired by the elderly through “rising property prices”. This would allow those paying for social care to “retain at least £100,000 of their saving and assets”.

“It is likely to represent the biggest stealth tax in history.” The Bow Group 

However, the policy has raised the prospect of one of the biggest transfers of wealth in British history from those who suffer the onset of long term illnesses like dementia to social care providers, which the government says it is struggling to fund through health spending. 

The Bow Group, a Conservative think-tank, said of the plans: “These proposals will mean that the majority of property owning citizens could be transferring the bulk of their assets to the government upon death for care they have already paid a lifetime of taxes to receive. It is likely to represent the biggest stealth tax in history.”

The Conservative manifesto did not propose a cap on care costs, meaning that someone who suffered from years of dementia – and required social care – could face hundreds of thousands of pounds in charges. 

The policy, which reports suggest was not widely discussed at the top of the Tory party, has caused chaos since the manifesto was launched, with party supporters distancing themselves from the plans. 

Recent polls then found a substantial swing of support to the Labour Party, reversing expectations that the snap General Election would lead to an unprecedented Tory landslide. 

May, in a heated press conference, accused Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn of “fake claims” over the Dementia Tax. In a partial u-turn, she said social care costs would be capped – but declined to say what that cap would be. 

In a tense exchange with journalists, she declared: “Nothing has changed! Nothing has changed!”

The Tories also bought-up advertising space on Google for anyone searching for more information on the ‘Dementia Tax’.

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson MP 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.”

Corbyn said: “You can’t trust a word Theresa May says. This is a government in chaos and confusion.”

When Labour’s Andy Burnham raised the idea of a 10 per cent inheritance tax for social care funding, the Tories called it a “new death tax” and ran a poster campaign of a gravesite claiming “Now Gordon [Brown] wants £20,000 when you die”.

Picture courtesy of Number 10

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