Social care crisis: Boris Johnson will be forced to break key manifesto pledge – expert

Social care: Coburn grills Alex Chalk on government plans

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Ahead of the 2019 general election, Boris Johnson made a key manifesto pledge that “nobody needing care should be forced to sell their home to pay for it”. But now it seems the Prime Minister could be forced to make a major U-turn on this, leaving thousands of pensioners fearing for their long-term care.

A social care amendment was backed by MPs this week despite outrage from many who claim the reform will see homeowners in the North and Midlands likely to lose a greater percentage of their assets than those in London and the South East.

The mover could see tens of thousands of England’s poorest pensions face paying the same as their wealthier counterparts after the Government published details of the new cap on home and care costs.

The social care levy, which was addressed in a Government proposal this week, involves a cap on a person’s lifetime care costs from 2023.

The controversial change was narrowly backed by MPs on Tuesday, with 272 backing the vote and 246 voting against it.

Critics of the reform proposal argue the move will disproportionately impact those “most at risk in our communities”, according to a care charity CEO Normandie Wragg.

Nugent’s Ms Wragg told “Rather than paying less in total, older people will now simply pay over a longer period than their peers who have more wealth.

“From what is being shared it appears that the changes will protect the assets of the wealthier, and most, unfortunately, at the expense of those individuals and their families with less wealth.”

She added nationally this move is likely to perpetuate and deepen the wealth inequality crisis.

Northern constituencies and pensioners are likely to be hardest hit by the changes

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has condemned the changes saying northerners will lose out the most.

Sir Keir said: “We’ve looked at this and the promise made by the Prime Minister is that no one will have to sell their house.

“But if you look at Bolton North East, for example, where MP Mark Logan voted with the Government if an individual’s family is asked to raise £86,000, that individual’s family is going to have to sell their house.”

He added: “If you’re in Bolton, if you’re in Bury, if you’re in East Lancashire, there’s a very real cost of living crisis this winter.”

Sir Keir condemned the changes in the Government’s social care plans as a “working-class dementia tax”.

Ms Nugent added: “Nationally this is likely to continue to perpetuate wealth inequality and will likely impact the north of the country more so than the south, where house prices are already far less and where the greatest levels of deprivation are already experienced.”

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Richard Frankl, chief executive of Kisharon and National Care Forum member, agreed the social care proposal is ineffectual in delivering on the “oven-ready social care plan promised at the last election”.

The charity boss said up to 1.52 million workers, including 10 million unpaid carers and 18,2000 organisations are likely to be impacted by Mr Johnson’s reform plans.

This is in addition to 84,000 people who receive paid social care, with many millions more who are not funded, Mr Frankl adds.

He told “The Government is proposing to put an additional £5.4bn for social care but only after NHS funding to cover the Covid backlog. In reality, social care will only receive £200m this year.

“Amendments proposed this week to the £86K cap on costs will cost £900m by the end of the decade ( compared to the £10bn or more the new Health and Social Care levy will raise out of our £800bn annually public spending.”

In practice, the policies create a social care postcode lottery, Mr Frankl said.

The social care expert added: “Leadership demands boldness of vision, clarity of thought and excellence in execution.

“The PM made social care reform the standard by which he should be judged and its implementation will provide a litmus test on his administration.

“Even for his most ardent of admirers, this may not have proven to be the most auspicious of beginnings.”

How will the social care bill work?

Those with assets equal to less than £20,000 will not have to pay anything towards social care fees.

However, they may need to pay from their income.

Anyone with assets equal to more than £100,000 in assets, which includes savings, properties or investments, will not receive any financial help from the council.

Those with assets between £20,000 and £100,000 will qualify for council help but will have to pay £86,000 out of their own pocket to reach the cap.

Homeowners whose wealth is tied up in their home are not required to sell their home to pay for social care if they receive care at home or if their partner is still living there.

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