Boris Johnson: Our way will stop the suffering
Theresa May's flagship plans to tackle the social care crisis will help improve the lives of Britain's ageing population, Boris Johnson said during a visit to the Black Country.
The Foreign Secretary has defended measures announced in the Conservative manifesto that will see more elderly people paying for their own social care in the home.
Theresa May described a raft of planned changes to elderly care as 'difficult but necessary'.
Under the proposals people with assets of more than £100,000 will have to pay for their care, while the 'triple lock' pensions system will be scrapped.
During a visit to Carvers Building Supplies in Wolverhampton, Mr Johnson defended the changes, saying the new policies would prevent elderly people 'from suffering and having their assets taken away'.
But the plans have been criticised by Labour's deputy leader Tom Watson, who accused the Tories of replacing the 'triple lock' with 'a triple whammy' of policies that will alienate elderly voters.
Mr Johnson was in the West Midlands for the second time in a matter of weeks as part of an all out effort to take seats in the region from Labour on June 8.
Asked if he thought the Prime Minister's plans to change social care funding risked alienating elderly voters, he told the Express & Star: "I don't think so at all.
"I think that what Theresa May and her team are trying to say is that there has been a long standing problem in that people who are in need of care see their assets gradually being whittled away, in some cases being devoured at huge speed, by the cost of care.
"What we are saying now is that you can defer that. You can still live in your house you don't have to sell it, we'll find a way through that problem for you.
"And also we are going to increase the total value of the assets you can have to £100,000. We recognise that we have an ageing population.
"But we need to stop them suffering and seeing their assets taken away."
Mrs May's proposals also include a means tested winter fuel allowance that will half the £3 billion a year bill.
Meanwhile David Cameron's 'triple lock' pensions pledge - which means they rise by the highest of average earnings, inflation or 2.5 per cent - will be ditched in favour of a 'double lock', without the 2.5 per cent backstop.
Mr Watson, Labour's parliamentary candidate for West Bromwich East, told the Express & Star that the Tories were 'taking pensioners for granted'.
"They're scrapping the 'triple lock', opening the door to lower increases in the state pension in future.
"They're means-testing winter fuel allowance, taking it away from all but the very poorest pensioners and leaving millions of elderly people without help to heat their homes.
"And they're making older people liable for much more of their care costs - meaning that if you need care, either at home or in residential care, you will have to pay for it out of the value of your house.
"Theresa May thinks that older people will vote for her anyway, but she's replacing the 'triple lock' with a triple whammy that will hit pensioners hard.
"Only Labour will protect the triple lock and keep pensioner benefits - that's why more older people will be backing Labour.
The Conservative manifesto, which was launched in Halifax, also included plans to reduce immigration, spend £8 billion extra on the NHS and build half a million extra homes.
The Prime Minister vowed to create a 'fairer' post-Brexit Britain and insisted she would not shy away from making 'hard choices' to turn the country into a 'great meritocracy'.
Mrs May said: "We reject the cult of selfish individualism. We abhor social division, injustice, unfairness and inequality.
"We see rigid dogma and ideology not just as needless but dangerous.
"True Conservatism means a commitment to country and community; a belief not just in society but in the good that government can do; a respect for the local and national institutions that bind us together; an insight that change is inevitable and change can be good, but that change should be shaped, through strong leadership and clear principles, for the common good.
"We know that our responsibility to one another is greater than the rights we hold as individuals.
"We know that we all have obligations to one another, because that is what community and nation demands.
"We understand that nobody, however powerful, has succeeded alone and that we all therefore have a debt to others."