The UK’s Conservative party has seemingly invested in Google’s ad program in order to prevent voters from reading about its ‘dementia tax’ controversy.
The Tories’ new care plan was widely criticised after its announcement, with detractors branding it dementia tax as a result of it forcing pensioners to pay far more for their care than they have done in previous years. The initial version of the policy saw the Tories dropping the £72,000 cap on care payments, with older people being forced to pay for care in their own homes while cancer patients would be treated in hospital for free, though this plan was swiftly scrapped in an extraordinary u-turn as a result of the criticisms.
However, that this policy was even being considered has become a major talking point, with Labour — who coined the moniker dementia tax — condemning their opponents for attempting to force this burden of debt upon the families of those who were being cared for. As such the Conservatives have been keen to quieten discussion pertaining to the policy, leading to the party purchasing an ad on Google in order to have their own site be the first result when searching “dementia tax” online.
The first result on Google for dementia tax now links to a page on the Conservatives’ site that reads “The So-Called ‘Dementia Tax’ – Get The Truth on the Plans.’ The page goes on to condemn the actions of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, reading: “Since our plans have been published [Corbyn] has been running a scare campaign of false claims to deliberately mislead some of the most vulnerable members of our society.” It also outlines the positive aspects of the newly updated social care plan, which include a protection on £100,000 of an individual’s life savings and protection for pensioner benefits such as bus passes, free TV licenses and eye tests.
However, the Google ad is also being rivaled by the Liberal Democrat’s own advertisement, which redirects from dementiatax.org.uk to the Lib Dems’ official site, leading to a petition to encourage the Tories to scrap the policy.
Purchasing a Google ad allows your post to be displayed at the top of a page for a particular topic or keyword, causing other results to be displayed further down the page. At the time of this writing, beneath the Conservatives’ ad is a series of news stories pertaining to the controversy over the party’s social care plan, including reports from The Guardian, The Independent and the Financial Times. The latter claimed that senior Conservatives had been “kept in the dark” over the extent of the policy, and that it “wasn’t really run by anyone outside the inner circle.”