The British Conservatives have lost their absolute majority in the 2017 snap election. One reason, it appears, is that older people got irritated because of the (what the opposition quickly branded as) dementia tax. Fullfact.org describes it thus

  • At the moment councils pay for all or part of a person’s social care if they have less than £23,250 in capital. The manifesto proposed raising this limit to £100,000.
  • At the moment the value of a person’s home is only counted in this limit if they are in residential care or nursing homes. The manifesto proposes including the value of anyone’s house, even if they are still living in it and needing care at home.
  • At the moment people in residential care or nursing homes can put off paying for their care—until after their death if they want to. The cost of their care is then taken from their estate after their death, or the value of their house once it is sold (or can be paid for by the individual or a relative). The Conservative manifesto proposed extending this to people who receive care at home too.

The manifesto argues these measures will put residential care and home care means-testing on an equal basis, account for property assets built up by many older people, and ensure that individuals’ assets aren’t depleted to £100,000 or less.

This sounds to me not far away from we're coming to take your house. This is so obviously something to drive voters away that I am appalled at how anyone can propose such an idea for a manifesto that will be read and analyzed to death. In the end, Ms. May is responsible but I don't think she herself put it in the manifesto.

Who did?

  • sigh as usual, selfish Baby Boomer generation is trying to screw over younger people.
    – user4012
    Jun 12, 2017 at 14:46
  • @user4012 Pardon me for being dense, but why younger people?
    – Jens
    Jun 12, 2017 at 22:02
  • that's who (1) works and pays taxes or (2) will keep working and whose future taxes will pay the debt the government is taking on - both of which are how these benefits for old people are paid for. This is coupled with specifically Baby Boomers refusing to have enough kids so each next gen taxpayer isn't saddled with way too many retirees to support.
    – user4012
    Jun 12, 2017 at 22:04
  • @Jens, In the US, if an old person owns a house of any value, they don't get free healthcare. In any case, I think you're asking the wrong question. Whoever came up with that name "dementia tax" is a genius. You should really be asking who from the opposition came up with that name. That clever name is what killed the manifesto, not the manifesto itself. Jun 13, 2017 at 9:25
  • It's worth noting that so brilliant was the fight against this that it swayed voters in Wales and Scotland where the change wouldn't have had any effect due to the devolution settlements. Jun 14, 2017 at 2:26

1 Answer 1


TLDR: We don't know.

Nick Timothy, Theresa May's former Co Chief of staff was said to have added in the policy according to some "party figures" according to the Financial Times.

However, he denies this claim in his resignation letter:

I take responsibility for my part in this election campaign, which was the oversight of our policy programme. In particular, I regret the decision not to include in the manifesto a ceiling as well as a floor in our proposal to help meet the increasing cost of social care. But I would like to make clear that the bizarre media reports about my own role in the policy’s inclusion are wrong: it had been the subject of many months of work within Whitehall, and it was not my personal pet project.

So we can't say for sure whether or not he added in this policy or whether this was running in the conservative party pipeline for quite a while as the conservative party don't publish internal documents as to exactly who drafted each bit of policy.

In reference to your sub-claim

This is so obviously something to drive voters away that I am appalled at how anyone can propose such an idea for a manifesto that will be read and analyzed to death.

Theresa May took several risks with her manifesto, because at the start of her campaign polls showed that she may win up to a 100 seat majority, as I quote from this article:

May is sufficiently confident of victory on 8 June that she can risk antagonising a key source of support – older voters, who overwhelmingly backed the Conservatives in 2015.

So basically she proposed it because she thought she would win in a landslide and get away with it.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .