Boris Johnson faces a backbench revolt over his social care plans as a minister claimed the reforms would mean “fewer people” would have to sell their homes to meet the cost of being looked after. This is a step down from a 2019 manifesto promise that social care reforms must “guarantee that no one needing care has to sell their home to pay for it”.
The PM has been warned that some Conservative MPs will not support the new policy to cap care costs, which critics argue has been watered down since it was first announced. Ahead of a vote on the night of 22 November, government minister Paul Scully was unable to guarantee the reforms would mean no one would be forced to sell their family home to meet the cost of adult social care in England. He said:
There will be fewer people selling their houses and hopefully none
The PM promised that no one will have to sell their house to pay for social care. Is that still the case?
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 22, 2021
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
Red Wall Tory Christian Wakeford had warned that it “shouldn’t be taken for granted that we’re just going to walk through the same lobby” while former justice secretary Robert Buckland has suggested the government should “look again” at the issue.
In September, the government announced that an £86,000 cap on care costs would be put in place from October 2023. But in a policy paper last week, the government said that for people who receive financial support for part of their care from their local authority, only the share they contribute themselves will go towards the £86,000 cap. That will mean that wealthy people who do not qualify for support will reach the cap threshold faster than poorer ones who have part of their care funded by their council.
Economist Andrew Dilnot, architect of the original plans for a care cap, said it would mean poorer recipients of care, including those in the North of England and in areas with lower house prices, will be hit hardest.
This isn’t a care plan, it’s a care con.
If you have £million house, 90% of assets protected. But if a £70,000 terrace across the north nearly everything lost.
That’s not ‘levelling up’, it’s day light robbery.
Ask your Tory MP to join us in voting this down at 10pm tonight. https://t.co/9XIaSEgj36
— Jonathan Ashworth (@JonAshworth) November 22, 2021
Business minister Scully told Sky News:
If you hit the cap you will not have to pay any more money for your personal care – I think that is a fair, balanced approach for taxpayers and people who are having to pay for what is a really expensive, at the moment, form of care through social care.
Pressed on whether some would have to sell their homes to pay for care, despite the prime minister’s pledge that his policy meant they would not, Scully replied:
I can’t tell you what individuals are going to do.
What I’m saying is the social care solution is all about getting a cap above which you do not need to pay – that gives people certainty.
A broken promise?
The Tory manifesto in 2019 said social care reforms must “guarantee that no one needing care has to sell their home to pay for it”. Under the plans, people with assets of less than £20,000 will not have to contribute anything to their care – up from the current level of £14,250 – while those with assets worth up to £100,000 will be eligible to receive some local authority support, up from £23,250.
Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi told LBC:
You have got to get to a place where we can have a system that doesn’t end up with one-in-six people having a catastrophic financial crisis, that is wrong.
He said “you get help up to £100,000, that’s a massive difference for people who have the least amount of money or assets available”. He also claimed that the richest people “pay the most in” as a result of the hike in National Insurance coming into force in April to help pay for the reforms.
The Commons showdown comes amid lingering ill-feeling on the Tory back benches over Johnson’s handling of the Owen Paterson standards row. Bury South MP Wakeford warned it was not a foregone conclusion that Tory MPs would back the government.
He told Times Radio
What I wanted to see was a plan and it feels like we didn’t have one then, I’m not fully sure we’ve got one now, but then to change, to move the goalposts after we’ve already been introduced this, it’s not something I’m particularly comfortable with it.
Especially when one of the main messages for introducing this levy was ‘you won’t need to sell your house for care’, to get to a point where unfortunately you might need to and (it’s) arguably our least well-off in society, our least well-off voters, again it’s not something I’m particularly comfortable with.
Our Chart of the Week shows that while the Government's social care reforms are a big improvement on the current system (a very low bar…) they're now more about insuring the rich, then levelling up. (THREAD) pic.twitter.com/Sv42kLgzxU
— Resolution Foundation (@resfoundation) November 21, 2021
The change has caused uproar with experts who said it would mean households receiving less protection than expected, and that they could still face catastrophic costs that would eat up a far greater share of their assets compared with wealthier recipients. Labour said its analysis had shown the changes would mean the average homeowner in two thirds of northern areas will have to pay more towards their care. In the Midlands a third would be worse off, it said.
Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth told Sky:
If you live in a £1 million house, perhaps in the Home Counties, 90% of your assets will be protected if you need social care. But if you live in an £80,000 terrace house in Hartlepool, Barrow, Mansfield or Wigan, for example, you lose nearly everything. That is not fair, that is not levelling up, it is daylight robbery.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?