Boris Johnson risks further anger over social care reforms as he appears to step down from manifesto commitment | Politics news

Boris Johnson has been seen stepping down from a manifesto commitment on social care after a controversial change in his government’s reforms of the system in England was narrowly backed by MPs.

That prime minister committed in the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto that “no one in need of care should be forced to sell their home to pay for it”.

But in a speech to his cabinet on Tuesday, Mr Johnson told his ministers that “no one will be forced to sell a home in which they or their spouse live as it will not be considered an asset”.

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Moment MPs vote on controversial care proposal

Speaking to Sky News on Monday, a minister failed to guarantee that people should not sell their homes to pay for care.

The Prime Minister’s comments to his top team come after the government won a Commons vote on its Health and Care Act.

After promising to “fix the social care crisis” on the steps of Downing Street when he became Prime Minister, Mr Johnson announced in September a ceiling on adult care costs in England from October 2023, promising a £ 86,000 limit for how much an individual must pay during their lifetime.

Last week, the government announced that it would introduce a change to the reforms, which would mean that only the amount a person personally contributes to their care expenses would count towards the £ 86,000 ceiling.

Everything the individual local authority contributes does not count.

The change has sparked accusations that it will be unfair to poorer people and those living in areas where housing is less valuable.

A total of 18 conservatives voted against the plans and joined Labor, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP when Boris Johnson’s working majority of 80 was cut sharply.

What are the changes and why can they be unfair?

In September, the government announced a new ceiling of £ 86,000 on the amount that everyone in England would have to pay for their care when they get older or ill.

People with less than £ 20,000 in assets – the value of their home, savings or investments – do not have to pay anything for their care, which is up from £ 14,250.

Those with assets between £ 20,000 and £ 100,000 will also now be eligible for new income-tested financial support from their local council to help with the cost of their care.

This is calculated by taking into account how much income you have – and whether you are closer to the lower limit of £ 20,000 or the upper limit of £ 100,000.

But changes announced last week reveal that the means-tested payments you receive from your local council do not count towards the £ 86,000 limit.

This has led to accusations that it will be unfair to poorer people and those living in areas where housing is less valuable.

For example, if you have a home worth £ 90,000, under the new means-tested system, you will be eligible for municipal payments to help with the running costs of your care.

But these payments do not count towards the £ 86,000 limit, after which you no longer have to pay anything.

So the journey to the £ 86,000 will be slowed down by local council payments that do not count in the ceiling – forcing you to pay with your own money instead.

The only way to reach the ceiling is to spend £ 86,000 of your own money on care, after which you only have £ 4,000 left.

But because the £ 86,000 limit is universal, a person with a home worth £ 1m will not receive council support but will reach the £ 86,000 limit faster and be left with more than £ 900,000.

A further 70 tories had no vote registered, though that does not necessarily mean they abstained.

And in a revelation that could risk making opponents of the plans further angry, Health Minister Sajid Javid has told a committee of MPs that an impact assessment of the policy will not be available until “early in the new year”.

“We are not in a position to provide information at the regional or individual level, as funding at the local authority level has not yet been agreed,” Mr. Javid to Mel Stride, Chairman of the Treasury Select Committee.

“However, it is important to reiterate that no one will be worse off under the system we are proposing than what is currently in place.”

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Care costs ‘in the right direction’ – former health secretary

The health secretary reiterated the government’s defense of its reforms, stating that the existing system “exposes many people to unlimited costs” and the changes will “put an end to unpredictable costs”.

“More people will be supported with their spending on social care, have greater security over what to pay, and thanks to broader reforms of the social care system, they will receive higher quality care,” Mr Javid insisted.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the policy was the “correct approach” and the government had “no intention” of carrying out a U-turn.

Meanwhile, Mr Johnson suffered another Tory uprising in the Commons on Tuesday.

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Labor MPs insist rich must pay more to fund social care

A total of 18 tories supported an amendment to the Health and Care Bill, proposed by former Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, which called for better planning of the workforce for care in England.

But it was rejected by 280 votes to 219, a majority of 61.

The bill later cleared the Commons – got a third reading with 294 votes to 244, a majority of 50 – but this sets the stage for a battle with the Lords, as peers scrutinize the legislation.

Three Conservative MPs voted against – Philip Davies, Andrew Lewer and Esther McVey – while no further 63 votes were cast.

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