Pensioners help fund social care in Tory plan


Theresa May will unveil a social care revolution in the Tory manifesto, paid for by axing winter fuel payments for wealthy pensioners.

The Prime Minister will claim social care is “one of the great challenges of our time” and pledge that no one should have to sell their home to pay for it.

People will not be made to pay for their care if their assets are worth less than £100,000, up from the current £23,250, as the Conservatives attempt to tackle the long-term challenges of an ageing society.

However, for the first time, those who receive care in their own homes will have the value of their property included in their assets, dragging in tens of thousands more families to pay for social care.

Currently only those going into care homes have the value of their property taken into account when paying for care.

The move will leave Mrs May open to claims of a “death tax” as many families are likely to have to sell homes to clear the social care bill.

It is expected the change will bring in an extra £1.3bn a year to the Treasury. The money will be ploughed back into social care for those whose assets are worth less than £100,000.

Mrs May will also be scrapping winter fuel payments of up to £300 for wealthy pensioners – which could save £1.5bn, according to estimates by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Labour is claiming the Conservatives cannot be trusted on social care or other issues and has published a list of 50 broken promises by the Tories in the past two years.

Other proposals expected in the manifesto, launched in West Yorkshire this morning, include:

:: Cutting net migration to tens of thousands

:: Make firms pay more to hire foreign workers – from £1,000 to £2,000 a year

:: Charge for migrant workers using the NHS

:: A cap on rip-off energy bills

:: Ending free school lunches for infants and replacing them with free school breakfasts for all primary children

:: Scrapping the promise not to increase income tax, VAT or national insurance

:: Ditching the pensions triple lock

In her foreword to the manifesto, called “Forward, Together”, the Prime Minister says: “This manifesto sets out a vision for Britain’s future – not just for the next five years, but beyond.

“The next five years are the most challenging that Britain has faced in my lifetime. Brexit will define us: our place in the world, our economic security and our future prosperity.

“Now more than ever, Britain needs a strong and stable government to get the best deal for our country. Now more than ever, Britain needs a strong and stable leadership to make the most of the opportunities that Brexit brings.”

She added: “Above all, it will require a unity of purpose stretching across this precious union of nations, from north to south and east to west. For as we embark on the momentous journey ahead of us over the next few years, our shared values, interests and ambitions can – and must – bring us together as a united country.”

Labour’s election coordinator Andrew Gwynne said: “As the Conservatives make their latest solemn pledge there’s one thing we must bear in mind: we’ve been here before.

“Theresa May pretends otherwise, but she is a politician with a track record of failure and broken promises. From the economy to the NHS, and policing to schools, Theresa May’s Tories have failed again and again to deliver on the pledges they made.

“They made promises, they quickly broke them; they would do so again. The Tories can’t be trusted. Britain cannot afford five more years of them and their broken promises.”

Attacking the proposals to increase the charges for firms hiring foreign workers, and to make migrants pay for NHS use, the former Lib Dem cabinet minister Alistair Carmichael said: “Without proper funding to retrain the British workforce this will simply lead to a skills shortage.

“This will be a massive tax on UK business that is already reeling from Theresa May’s extreme Brexit. The Conservatives have lost the right to call themselves the party of business.”