Slight decline in Polls for Tories Says ICM

"The (latest ICM) figures were widely seen as evidence that the Tory social care plans had backfired", the Guardian wrote on Monday.

Suddenly, only four days after the Tory manifesto was published, Theresa May has added one rather crucial proposal to her social care plan - a limit, or a cap, to the amount of money one individual could be asked to pay.

The scale of Conservative concern about the phrase - which featured in the front page headline of the usually Tory-backing Mail on Sunday - was reflected in an advert taken out by the party on Google, which directed users who searched for "dementia tax" to a webpage explaining their policy.

In a joint statement they said: "Every vote for Labour is a vote for the views and policies of its leader, Jeremy Corbyn". The only things he has left to offer in this campaign are fake claims, fear and scaremongering, ' she said. "We will make sure social care is properly funded", he said on Friday morning.

In interviews since the manifesto launch, ministers said a cap - as proposed by a government review in 2011 - had been rejected.

But in a move to stop the storm engulfing her election campaign, Mrs May assured fuming Tory candidates there will be a consultation on capping what older people have to pay for their care.

She told reporters: "We have not changed the principles of the policies we set out in our manifesto". We were honest that we were going to have a green paper and would be consulting people on how the system operates.

BBC interviewer Andrew Neil said that changing a key policy halfway through the election made her policy agenda look "half-baked and uncosted" and undermined her claim to be "strong and stable".

That picture appeared to change after both the Conservatives and Labour set out their election pitches to voters last week, with a Survation poll published on Monday showing May's lead over Labour had halved to 9 percentage points.

The Labour Party, says ICM, at 33 percent has regained some of the ground it lost in previous months and has "won the short term manifesto battle", but with a 14 percent lead it is still the Tories election to lose.

In the manifesto, the Tories didn't mention a cap.

May had sought to poach traditional Labour supporters with a mix of pledges more radical than those of her predecessor, David Cameron.

Other think tanks with expertise in social care also criticised the proposals.

"Let's be clear. This plan replaces the existing system where people often get poor quality care - and stand to lose nearly all their savings and assets, including the family home". Under the plans, the value of people's homes will be included in the means testing for social care in the home, and the single floor cap will be raised from £23,250 to £100,000.

Former chancellor George Osborne revealed the humiliating U-turn in a tweet ahead of her speech, writing: "U-turn coming on social care. You will never have to go below £100,000 of your savings so you will always have something to pass on to your family", she said.

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