Thoughts on the Conservative party manifesto

Author: Liam Booth-Smith   |  

Social care is the headline from today’s Conservative manifesto and the experts have roundly criticised their proposal. Theresa May has some very smart people around her who knew this would happen. So why did they actively brief the policy and put it centre stage? Because this isn’t about policy but mandate.

Should they win next month the Conservatives have firmly established an important principle on which to base the reform of future social care policy; people will be paying more for their own care.

Much has been made of how the proposal to allow equity to be drawn from a home in order to pay for care but only have the cost recouped after a person dies doesn’t address the long term issue. They’re of course correct, it doesn’t. But it does create the space for an incoming Tory government to be more radical than any recent administration. Social care’s long term future wasn’t decided in today’s manifesto but we do have a clear direction. What is lacking is an answer on how care is paid for in the interim, ie before someone dies. For public services this was always going to be a more salient question and they’ve been left wanting.

In terms of other highlights housing takes significant billing. In particular the announcement of specific deals on council house building. Locally those on the right have for some time known that more flexibility locally on house building has been required, particularly for affordable housing. This is long overdue.

The announcements on the Industrial Strategy were very pleasing. A common framework for devolution was a big ask in our recent report and a number of our other recommendations have made their way into the manifesto in one form or another. Perhaps most importantly we can now firmly claim the policy win on the notion of ‘local industrial strategies’, the manifesto is actively calling for these and this gives places an opportunity to be creative in the ways they drive growth.