A government minister has been unable to guarantee that some people will not have to sell their homes to fund their own social care amid a backbench rebellion over plans to scale back a cap on costs.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) caused alarm on Thursday when it revealed it would calculate the £86,000 cap on lifetime care costs in a way that could leave tens of thousands of England’s poorest pensioners paying the same as wealthier people.
With MPs due to vote on the proposal on Monday evening, some expressed hope that the government would make a last-minute concession in the face of increasingly rebellious backbenchers who fear a backlash from constituents.
Pressed on whether some people would have to sell their homes to pay for care, despite Boris Johnson’s pledge that his policy meant they would not, the business minister Paul Scully told Sky News: “There will be fewer people selling their houses and hopefully none.”
He continued: “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.”
Asked again whether some people receiving care may have to sell up under the proposals, 그는 말했다: “It will depend on different circumstances.
“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.”
In a subsequent interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Scully said that under the new plans people would not need to sell homes in their lifetime, but did not disagree that some would be unable to pass them on to children.
그는 말했다: “If you’re solely looking at what happens to someone’s home, there are deferred payment agreements, and if the spouse continues to live in the home, the value of the house won’t be included in someone’s asset calculations, so nobody will be forced out of their homes.”
Sir Andrew Dilnot, the economist whose report on social care a decade ago established the principle of capping costs, told Today that the government’s tweak to the system would save it about £900m a year by the time it was fully operational, near the end of this decade.
“That needs to be compared to the much more than £10bn a year that the health and social care levy was going to raise,”그는 말했다.
“If this amendment is passed, then the less well-off person will not hit the cap at the same time as the better-off person, and will go on spending out of their own income and wealth until they spend exactly the same as the amount the better-off person has spent, £86,000, and then they hit the cap. That doesn’t seem very progressive.”
The shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said the new plan was “a care con” rather than a care plan.
그는 말했다: “Because if you live in a £1m house, perhaps in the home counties, 90% of your assets will be protected if you need social care, but if you live in a £80,000 terraced house in Hartlepool or Mansfield or Wigan, 예를 들면, you lose nearly everything. That is not fair. That is not levelling up. That’s daylight robbery.”
Christian Wakeford, the Bury South Tory MP, previously expressed anger that the plans appeared to have been changed since MPs voted in September to support the £12bn a year health and social care levy that will pay for the policy.
“If we’re changing the goalposts again, halfway through the match, it doesn’t sit comfortably with me or many colleagues,”그는 말했다, warning the government: “It shouldn’t be taken for granted that we’re just going to walk through the same lobby.”