British Minister refuses to rule out people having to sell houses to finance care | Social Protection
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 against plans to lower the ceiling for costs.
The Department of Health and Welfare (DHSC) raised the alarm on Thursday when it revealed it would calculate the £ 86,000 cap on lifelong care costs in a way that could leave dozens of thousands of England’s poorest retirees pay the same amount as the wealthiest people.
As MPs were 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 voters.
Pressed on whether some people should sell their homes to pay for care, despite Boris Johnson’s pledge that his policy meant they wouldn’t, Business Secretary Paul Scully told Sky News: “There is will have fewer people selling their homes, and hopefully none. “
He continued, “I can’t tell you what the individuals are going to do. What I’m saying is the social protection solution is to get a cap above which you don’t need to pay – that gives people certainty. “
When asked again if some people receiving care might have to sell under the proposals, he said: “It will depend on different circumstances.
“If you hit the cap, you won’t have to pay for your personal care anymore – I think it’s a fair and balanced approach for taxpayers and people who have to pay for what is really expensive, at the moment, form care through social assistance.
In a subsequent interview with BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Scully said that under the new plans, people would not need to sell homes during their lifetime, but did not disagree that some would be unable to pass them on to children.
He said: “If you just look at what happens to someone’s house, there are deferred payment arrangements, and if the spouse continues to live in the house, the value of the house will not be included in the amount. calculating someone’s assets, so no one will be forced to leave their home.
Sir Andrew Dilnot, the economist whose welfare report ten years ago established the cost cap principle, told Today the government’s change to the system would save him around $ 900 million. pounds sterling per year by the time it was fully operational, towards the end of this decade.
“This has to be compared to the well over £ 10 billion a year that the health care and social services tax was going to raise,” he said.
“If this amendment passes, then the less well-off person will not hit the cap at the same time as the well-off person and will continue to spend with their own income and wealth until they spend exactly the same as the better-off. wealthy person. amount the wealthy person spent, £ 86,000, then hit the cap. It doesn’t seem very gradual.
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said the new plan was “a care con artist” rather than a care plan.
He said: “Because if you live in a £ 1million house, maybe in the home counties, 90% of your assets will be protected if you need social care, but if you live in an £ 80,000 terraced house in Hartlepool or Mansfield or Wigan, for example, you lose almost everything. It’s not fair. It’s not leveling up. It’s daylight theft. “
Christian Wakeford, the Tory MP for Bury South, had previously expressed his anger that plans appeared to have been changed since MPs voted in September to back the £ 12 billion a year tax on health and care social care that will pay the policy.
“If we change the goalposts again, halfway through the game, it does not suit me or many colleagues,” he said, warning the government: “We must not stand for acquired that we are simply going to cross the same hall.