Money Senior Tories were kept in the dark over ‘dementia tax’

15:50  22 may  2017
15:50  22 may  2017 Source:   The Financial Times

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Theresa May failed to consult some of her most senior colleagues over plans to overhaul the social care system, which has become the most criticised policy included in last week’s Tory manifesto. The plan, dubbed the “ dementia tax ”, was added at the last minute by Nick Timothy, the prime minister’s

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Theresa May launches her manifesto in Halifax. The prime minister repeated the word 'strong' or 'strength' 17 times © Getty Theresa May launches her manifesto in Halifax. The prime minister repeated the word 'strong' or 'strength' 17 times

Theresa May failed to consult some of her most senior colleagues over plans to overhaul the social care system, which has become the most criticised policy in last week’s Tory manifesto.

The plan, dubbed the “dementia tax”, was added at the last minute by Nick Timothy, the prime minister’s co-head of staff, party figures have admitted.

Both Boris Johnson, foreign secretary, and Damian Green, welfare secretary, refused to say whether the cabinet was briefed ahead of the policy announcement, which would see those needing care having to pay for it from the value of their property until their last £100,000.

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  Conservative climbdown over 'dementia tax' The Prime Minister has climbed down on her social care reform after an angry backlash over the so-called "dementia tax".Theresa May has announced there will be an "absolute limit" on how much people will have to pay for their social care in a watering down of her reform, announced at the party manifesto launch less than a week ago.

The dementia tax proposal would require elderly people receiving social care to fund the entire cost, until they reached their last £100,000 of assets which the state would allow them to keep . The policy wasn’t really run by anyone outside the inner circle. A senior Tory insider. Since the plan was

Senior tories were kept in the dark over may'S ' dementia tax '. Theresa May failed to consult some of her most senior colleagues on plans to overhaul the social care system, which has become the most criticised policy in last week's Conservative manifesto.

But one senior Tory told the Financial Times that the policy “wasn’t really run by anyone outside the inner circle”. Party figures said that John Godfrey, head of the Downing Street policy unit, had advised against the move.

Mr Johnson raised hopes of a climbdown when he praised the “broad thrust” of the proposals but hinted that they could still be tweaked. “I do understand people’s reservations . . . there will be a consultation on getting it right,” he said.

Mr Green, however, said on Sunday that the plan, which is facing a growing backlash from Tory MPs, was set in stone subject to a green paper this summer: “We have set out the policy, which we are not going to look at again.”

Mrs May will on Monday try to shift attention from the social care backlash by warning that the challenge of negotiating Brexit was too important to be trusted to someone “uncertain” about delivering the will of British people.

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Image caption Senior Tories were kept in the dark over Mrs May's " dementia tax ", says the front of the Financial Times. It says the manifesto proposal was added at the last minute by the prime minister's

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She will say there is “no time to waste”, pointing to recent demands from Brussels that the negotiations begin just 11 days after the election.

There is also growing unease among other ministers, with one saying that the policy had come “out of the blue”. One Tory candidate told the FT that it was playing badly with voters because it was baffling. “Most people are just confused as they don’t know if it affects them,” he said. “It has been poorly communicated.”

Labour has repeatedly attacked the Tories’ social care reforms since the launch of the manifesto on Thursday, believing that they could damage its rival’s lead in the polls among older voters. Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader, said the reforms risked sparking a “war between generations”.

Tim Farron, Lib Dem leader, compared Mrs May’s “callous” policy to the poll tax and predicted that it would “bring her down”.

Mr Green argued that the policy was a better system than the alternative proposal from the Dilnot review for an upper cap of £72,000 on individual care costs, which were due to begin in 2020. He said that would have meant the “distribution of the benefits became wildly uneven”.

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“Theresa May failed to consult some of her most senior colleagues over plans to overhaul the social care system, which has become the most criticised policy in last week’s Tory manifesto. The plan, dubbed the “ dementia tax ”, was added at the last minute by Nick Timothy, the prime minister’s

Theresa May has dramatically rewritten her controversial “ dementia tax ” plans, announcing that she will put a cap on total care costs to protect homeowners from the risk of losing nearly all of their assets. Senior Tories kept in dark over ‘ dementia tax ’.

Mr Green added: “£100,000 is a reasonable inheritance to have.”

The Tory manifesto also includes means-testing the up-to-£300 annual winter fuel payment and an end to the pension “triple lock” under which the state pension would rise by either earnings, inflation or 2.5 per cent, whichever was higher. Instead, it will go up by either earnings or inflation.

Some Tory MPs are picking up unhappiness on the doorsteps about plans to means-test winter fuel payments.

David Mundell, Scottish secretary, has pointedly announced that all pensioners in Scotland would keep their fuel payments.

Opinion polls at the weekend showed that Labour’s share of the vote had risen to 34 per cent, a big improvement on the start of the campaign but still 10 points behind the Tories.

The impact on social care of the new minimum wage will vary wildly from council to council © Provided by Financial Times The impact on social care of the new minimum wage will vary wildly from council to council

The Conservatives hit back on Sunday by pointing out that Labour’s plans to increase the inheritance tax threshold would affect 3.9m extra households.

Meanwhile, research by Royal London, the insurance company, suggested some inconsistencies with the current system of payment for social care.

Under existing rules, people in residential care can ask a local authority to meet their care-home bills from the future sale of a family home. But, according to 140 freedom of information replies to Royal London, the effectiveness of the scheme varies hugely from area to area. Some 10 local authorities have not entered into a single such arrangement since the scheme was introduced in April 2015.

Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London — and a former pensions minister — said the system amounted to a “lottery”.

“If far more people are going to face deferred charges in future because of the inclusion of the value of family homes in the means-test for social care, the government will need to investigate very quickly why the present system is not working properly,” he said.

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Source: http://uk.pressfrom.com/news/money/-160854-senior-tories-were-kept-in-the-dark-over-dementia-tax/

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