The front pages of the Daily Mail and Daily Express were full of praise for Theresa May’s election pledges on Thursday, but many have pointed out that newspapers were far less delighted when strikingly similar policies were advocated by Labour.
Ahead of the unveiling of the Tory manifesto in Halifax today, the Mail and Express led with some of May’s key policies, namely plans to scrap the Winter fuel allowance and changes to social care costs.
It’s fair to say the two publications were welcoming of the policies, hailing “May’s plan for a fairer Britain” and informing readers “You won’t have to sell home to pay for your care”.
Labour MP and Mayor of Manchester Andy Burnham said that when he suggested a similar “but fairer and better” policy, the Daily Mail slammed it as a “death tax”.
Labour MP Mary Creagh echoed Burnham’s comments, suggesting the reactions would be wildly different if Labour announced scrapping winter fuel allowance and bumping costs for the elderly.
The winter fuel payment allows those born on or before May 5, 1953 to receive between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay heating bills.
A number of journalists also pointed out the contradiction between how the Tories vilified Gordon Brown for advocating an alleged “death tax” and their latest social care pledge.
Two years ago the Daily Express celebrated their “victory” for their “death tax crusade”.
Under the social care plans revealed today those with more than £100,000 in assets will have to pay for their own care out of the value of their homes, rather than relying on the council to cover the costs of visiting care workers.
In 2015 the Tories said that costs would be limited to £72,000 for the over-65s.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt denied that the new policy was effectively a “death tax” but admitted they were “dropping” their 2015 commitment.