Conservative plans to overhaul social care funding and pass the costs on to pensioners are “brave” and “responsible”, Boris Johnson has claimed.
The Foreign Secretary praised Theresa May’s plans for a change of the social care system, despite concerns among the wider public.
According to the Tory manifesto, elderly people requiring state care in their own homes will now have to meet the cost – with property values counting towards means testing.
Pensioners would be allowed to keep £100,000, up from £23,000, however.
Mr Johnson told Peston on Sunday he understood people’s reservations about passing on the burden to the elderly, but described the policy as a “grown-up” response to a long-term funding issue.
New social care funding breakdown:
Despite criticism from Labour and wider discontent with the policy, Mr Johnson defended the policy to ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston.
“This is necessary. We have another two million people over the age of 75 in the next 10 years,” he told Peston.
“We have to do something about the huge costs of social care.
“I think it’s a mark of Theresa May’s bravery and candour with the electorate that she is doing this.”
However, Mr Johnson refused to reveal whether Mrs May’s cabinet had been briefed about the policy prior to its announcement.
He said: “I think this is the right policy and I am supporting this policy.
“The crucial thing is that people are going to be able to live in their own home, they will have that anxiety taken away, and they will be able to pass on a minimum of £100,000 to their kids.
“This is a policy that has been supported across the spectrum.”
The former London mayor admitted he could understand reservations around the policy.
But he argued: “The broad thrust has got to be brave, to be resolute and to take on the problem.
“I think most people will think it reasonable that we have quadrupled the amount you can pass on to your kids and nobody will face the terror of being forced to sell their own home when they’re alive.”
He added: “This is a responsible, grown-up, conservative approach trying to deal with a long-term problem in a way that is equitable and allows people to pass on a very substantial sum to their kids and takes away the fear of having your home sold.”
Asked about Brexit, Johnson said the thought of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn handling Britain’s withdrawal from the EU left him “genuinely concerned”.
“I do not for the life of me understand how he is supposed to go and sit at that table in Brussels on day one of the talks when he hasn’t got a clue whether he wants to stay in the single market or the customs union and he has a completely unintelligible position on immigration.
“They are going to look at him and have him for breakfast. It think it will be deeply damaging to the interests of this country.”