The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has apparently acknowledged that some people may have to sell their homes to cover the cost of social care under his government’s planned reforms, which are undermining an important manifesto promise.
Johnson addressed ministers at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday and welcomed the news that the House of Commons last night voted in favor of its social care reforms, arguing that the changes would address the “catastrophic care costs” facing families.
“He added that no one will be forced to sell a house in which they or their spouse live, as it will not be considered an asset,” according to an official cabinet reading. It is a tacit acknowledgment that a home can be sold once the person in need of care or their spouse has no longer occupied their property.
The comments point to a slight move away from the 2019 Tory manifesto, which firmly stated that “no one in need of care should be forced to sell their house to pay for it”.
Under the proposals, which will take effect from October 2023, lower-income households will have to pay part of their care costs for longer before reaching a £ 86,000 limit, after which government support kicks in. The reforms also remove means- tested support of the calculation of the cap.
Health experts, including economists Sir Andrew Dilnot, expressed concern that the new proposals would make individuals with lower-value homes, many of which are concentrated in the north of the country, excessive.
The proposals had little success in parliament on Monday night, with MPs voting 272 to 246 in favor of the changes. But 19 Tories voted against them, and 68 did not vote – with some abstaining and others abroad on business matters.
Former Health and Social Affairs committee chairman Jeremy Hunt has been one of several Tory MPs who have publicly criticized the reforms.
“What is going to happen now is that you will get help when your assets fall below £ 100,000, so there are a lot of low-income people who will benefit from the new system, but it’s just not quite as generous as the system I have. in 2014 by parliament. was never ordained, “Hunt said. Sky News. “So I felt the appropriate thing to do was to remember.”
The legislation will go to the House of Lords, with the second reading expected in the chamber before Christmas.
Former Conservative health secretary Lord Andrew Lansley and Baroness Altmann, a former Tory minister for jobs and pensions, have in recent days made them clear reservations about the bill and indicated that they would try to force changes.
An official at the Lords told the FT that behind-the-scenes talks are taking place between Tory MPs and peers about possible changes.
Several conservative MPs said they voted for the legislation with the understanding that it would be amended in the Lord. “Monday night’s mood was just round one of a three-round competition. “I really suspect we will end up in a completely different place by the time the Lord does their work,” one argued. “They can choose to change the government’s plans, or try to scrap the change altogether.”
The MP added: “The government is facing a combination of rebels, abstentions and those like me, who have remained loyal on the condition that the amendment looks different the next time we vote on it. The combination of all three should be enough to force the government to say goodbye or compromise. “
Additional post by Sarah Neville