Theresa May: rich people in big houses should pay for their own care

Rich people who own big houses should expect to pay for their own care and not expect taxpayers to subsidise them, Theresa May said today.

The former prime minister said politicians needed to have 'a very difficult discussion' with the public about how old age and adult infirmity care is paid for.

Speaking at a Westminster reception she criticised what she described as a 'concept' that 'whatever problem you have, somebody else will pay for it'.

The issue of social care proved highly damaging for Mrs May during the 2017 election, when she was forced into a U-turn mid-campaign after Labour branded her proposals a 'dementia tax'.

Today she she acknowledged that her party had not 'rolled the pitch' for the proposals, and it had been a 'mistake' to insist that nothing had changed following the U-turn.

But she added that there were 'real challenges' that needed to be addressed 'at some stage in the coming years', saying: 'Why should somebody who is perhaps sitting in a house which has a significant value expect the family that are on average earnings and struggling to make ends meet pay for that person's social care?'

theresa may: rich people in big houses should pay for their own care

The former prime minister said politicians needed to have 'a very difficult discussion' with the public about how old age and adult infirmity care is paid for.

She said: 'I think there's a very difficult discussion to be had with the public about social care because there is that assumption.'

Asked about her reflections on social care, she said people had 'lost the sense' that they should 'put some savings by for a rainy day to be able to look after themselves when they were in difficulties'.

Social care reform has been a fraught issue for politicians of all parties as Britain's ageing population places further strain on local authority budgets.

In March, MPs on the Commons Public Accounts Committee warned that reform plans had once again gone awry, with the Department of Health and Social Care failing to provide the sector with adequate leadership.

The department said it was committed to reforming social care and had invested up to £8.6 billion over two years to help deal with the pressures on the sector.

Mrs May also said that the UK needs to remain in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as it has shown a willingness to 'row back' on international law, Theresa May has said.

The former prime minister had previously expressed frustration with the ECHR and in 2016 suggested the UK should leave the treaty as it could 'bind the hands of Parliament'.

But asked on Thursday whether she still thought the UK should look to leave or reform the ECHR, Mrs May said she now thought Britain should remain in the convention.

She told a press gallery lunch in Westminster: 'That's partly because circumstances have changed, also because sadly we have shown as a country a willingness to row back sometimes on certain aspects of international law.

'I think we should stay in something that we helped to create in the first place.'

The ECHR has become a significant issue for members of the Conservative right, and the Prime Minister himself has indicated he would be willing to leave the treaty if it prevented him deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Answering questions from journalists on Monday, Rishi Sunak said: 'If the Strasbourg court make me choose between the ECHR and this country's security, I will choose our country's security every single time.'

Mrs May has been an opponent of the Rwanda scheme, saying it would make it harder to tackle modern slavery.

In a further rebuke to the Tory right, Mrs May rejected the suggestion that Reform UK leader Richard Tice and party president Nigel Farage should be welcomed into the Conservative Party.

Some Conservatives believe neutralising the threat from Reform would prevent the Tories losing voters to their right and save key marginal seats currently held by the party.

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