Boris Johnson’s ‘no house sale’ manifesto promise shattered by welfare plans, says Rachel Reeves
The Conservative Party’s manifesto for the 2019 general election said its long-term solution for social care would include “a guarantee that no one in need of care will have to sell their house to pay.”
Ms Reeves told the Yorkshire Post that the plan for people to still pay up to Â£ 86,000 for their care costs means that ‘this is clearly not happening’ with people in poorer areas who are effectively still obligated to sell.
“What Boris Johnson promised is that no one would have to sell their house to pay for social care,” she said.
âTo be fair to him, if you live in a big house in London or the South East, he absolutely kept that promise.
âBut if you live in a house worth less than Â£ 186,000 – and in the north of England two-thirds of the constituencies have an average price lower than that – for these people it doesn’t. not kept that promise.
âWith a cap on custody fees of Â£ 86,000, how do you find that money without selling your house?
âMost people who have a house worth Â£ 150,000 don’t have Â£ 100,000 in the bank. If you have Â£ 100,000 in assets, you will lose 80%. If you have assets worth Â£ 1million, you will keep 90% of them.
“It’s just totally wrong.”
New research from Labor suggests that the government’s changes to its welfare plan will disproportionately hit families in Yorkshire and northern England – especially in the Red Wall seats won by the Tories in 2019.
Median house price data for House of Commons Library constituencies show two-thirds of Yorkshire and Humber constituencies are below Â£ 186,000. They include the Conservative ‘red wall’ seats won in 2019 by Don Valley, Rother Valley and Great Grimsby, as well as Ms Reeves’ own constituency of Leeds West.
The conservative manifesto also pledged that national insurance would not increase – something that will happen from next April to help pay the costs of reforms.
Earlier this month, Sir Andrew Dilnot, who led a review of the future of social care funding a decade ago, said those with fewer assets “will see no benefit” from the changes, the government being ready to make savings “exclusively” on this group.
Sir Andrew said he was “very disappointed” that only personal contributions from individuals were counted towards the Â£ 86,000 cap.
In a guidance document, the government said it was to ensure that people “do not hit the cap at an artificially faster rate than what they are contributing.”
But Sir Andrew said there is a “kind of north-south axis to this where people living in the north and other areas with lower house prices are likely to be harder. affected by this on average “.
He said poorer people with long care journeys will end up paying as much as their wealthier counterparts, and for some, the time they spend paying contributions for their care could double.
In 2011, a commission headed by Sir Andrew recommended putting a cap on the amount a person would have to pay for care over their lifetime, set at between Â£ 25,000 and Â£ 50,000.
The government is proposing a lifetime cap of Â£ 86,000 from October 2023, with people with assets below Â£ 20,000 paying nothing and those with up to Â£ 100,000 contributing towards their care.
Sir Andrew told the Treasury Select Committee that people with significant care needs and assets of Â£ 106,000 will be hardest hit by the cap changes, but it won’t make a difference to anyone over Â£ 186,000 .
He said around 60% of older people who end up needing social care have assets below Â£ 186,000 and around 30-40% below Â£ 106,000.
Earlier this week 19 Tory MPs – including three from Yorkshire – rebelled to vote against a change in welfare reforms amid anger over how it will affect the poorest retirees.
The PM narrowly managed to get MPs to back his new policy of capping care costs in England on Monday night, something senior Tories refused to support amid criticism that the plans were watered down.
Ministers were unable to say whether changing the Â£ 86,000 cap on care costs would fulfill an election pledge to ensure no one would have to sell their home to pay for care.
Critics of backbenchers have joined pundits and Labor MPs in warning that the decision to count only individual payments in the cap, not contributions from local authorities, would cost poorer beneficiaries more in assets than in the rich.
In September, the government announced that a cap of Â£ 86,000 on the costs of lifelong care would be put in place from October 2023.
However, a guidance document last week showed that only personal contributions will count towards this cap for people who receive financial support from a local authority for some of their care.
Experts have said this means poorer people will hit the cap faster than richer ones and therefore see more of their assets consumed by health care costs.
The Resolution Foundation think tank warned Northerners and Yorkshires were most at risk of seeing their “wealth wiped out by the costs of care”, and said the changes approved on Monday would worsen reforms.
The prime minister’s official spokesperson was unable to say whether people might still have to sell their homes to pay for care, arguing: “I can’t predict individual situations.”
Johnson’s Defense of Change
Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted this week that the government’s welfare reforms are “incredibly generous and much better than the existing system.”
âIn the existing system, nobody gets support if they have assets of Â£ 23,000 or more,â he said. “Now you get help if you have Â£ 100,000 or less so we help people.”
People with assets of less than Â£ 20,000 will have nothing to contribute to their care – up from Â£ 14,250 currently – while those with assets worth up to Â£ 100,000 will be eligible for assistance from the authorities local, compared to Â£ 23,250.
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