Boris Johnson said: Payroll tax dump plan or Conservative rebellion | Social Protection
Senior Tories on Saturday urged Boris Johnson to abandon plans that would see many of England’s poorest retirees pay more for their social care – or risk being forced by his own MPs into a humiliating U-turn.
The Prime Minister, still reeling from sordid allegations and the fury of “red wall” deputies over reduced rail investment in the north, faces yet another potentially damaging Commons rebellion at the hands of a party of more and more mutinous.
The Observer has learned that several Conservative MPs from the north participated in an emergency appeal put in place by Care Minister Gillian Keegan on Friday afternoon, in which she was allegedly “shown off” by backbenchers complaining that the plans were unfair and had not been fully explained or well thought out.
Former Tory chief whip Mark Harper, according to MPs on call, challenged Keegan to produce a more detailed analysis of the plans – something neither she nor the two officials present were able to do. Harper then said it would not be enough for him to produce details on voting day, which is expected to be Monday or Tuesday.
Several high-ranking Tory MPs have reportedly told Tory whips they consider voting against the plans or abstaining, unless they are amended to ensure retirees are not forced to sell their homes for pay for their care, like Johnson before. promised.
Jeremy Hunt, former health secretary and current chairman of the health select committee, said it was “deeply disappointing” that the new plans were “not as progressive” as those proposed by Andrew Dilnot, the economist who drew up the original plans for a cap on individual contributions. He said it would now be up to the government to improve rights once the cap is introduced.
Damian Green, the former Tory cabinet minister, who was also on call, told the Observer that the government should abandon the plans and adopt a system that would ensure that people could keep a percentage of their real estate assets.
“I would urge them to take a different approach,” Green said. “I think it would be infinitely better to ensure that people can keep a percentage of their real estate wealth rather than having a flat rate that applies across the country.”
Conservative WhatsApp groups are reportedly full of comments from MPs – many of whom occupy Red Wall seats – talking about a potential rebellion unless the government backs down.
Last week, as the minds of MPs shifted their focus to poverty-related issues and the decision to cut the eastern section of the high-speed line to Leeds, ministers announced changes to social protection plans , which would mean that the poorest retirees would not, after all, be able to count means-tested payments by the state for their care up to a total ceiling of £ 86,000 for any individual. It is believed that the change was made under pressure from the Treasury.
Critics said this meant that if someone with a £ 1million house would be able to protect over 90% of their assets, someone with a house worth £ 70,000 , in a less wealthy part of the country, would lose almost everything.
Dr Dan Poulter MP, who works part-time as a psychiatrist in the NHS, said the unwanted change in plans was the result of the government not setting aside enough money for social care when its main announcements on additional NHS funding and care reform were made in September.
“The initial set of proposals for a lifetime limit of £ 86,000 on social care costs was strong and addressed the unfairness of people having to sell their homes to pay for their care, but there were still questions about find out if the government sums were adding up, ”Poulter mentioned.
‘So while this policy change is surprising, I suspect it may have been prompted by the realization that an additional £ 5.6bn, while welcome, would never be enough for address both the challenges of care and the workforce in social services. as well as properly funding the introduction of a ceiling of £ 86,000 on the costs of care. Unfortunately, it will be the poorest retirees with relatively small assets who will be most affected by these changes. “
When she announced the plans last Thursday, Keegan said they would “reduce complexity” and ensure people “don’t unfairly hit the cap at an artificially faster rate than they are contributing.”
Analysis by the Observer shows that nearly three-quarters of the seats the Tories won over Labor in the last election will be among those hardest hit by these changes.
Of the 54 seats the Conservatives won from Labor in 2019, 41 have average house prices below that level. In the constituency of Burnley, for example, an average house is worth £ 99,950. In Darlington it is £ 135,000 and in Durham North West it is £ 120,000, according to recent figures from the House of Commons Library.
Appearing before a committee of MPs last week, Dilnot said about 60% of seniors who end up needing social care would lose out under government plans.
“The people hardest hit by this change are those with assets of exactly £ 106,000,” he said. “But anyone with assets below £ 186,000 would do worse with what the government is proposing than with the proposals we have made and which have been legislated. It was a big change announced yesterday. He finds savings exclusively with the less well-off groups.
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: ‘Boris Johnson’s care plans crumble into chaos, Tory MPs bicker as ministers admit they haven’t even studied how the proposals hit. disproportionately those with modest assets.
“As officials confirm these changes will hit some of the poorest retirees, many in the North and Midlands, Tory MPs must join Labor in voting against this unfair scam and demanding that ministers come back with a fair alternative . “
Charles Tallack of the Health Foundation said the average price of red-seat houses of £ 160,000 meant they were “most likely to be affected by the proposed changes”. The type of people who currently use care are also more likely to be worse off under the plans. The majority of those in care are women over 80, with a median wealth of £ 156,000.