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Boris Johnson appears to recognize welfare plans undermine manifesto

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to acknowledge that some people may need to sell their homes to cover social care costs as part of his government’s planned reforms, undermining a key manifesto commitment.

Speaking to ministers at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Johnson welcomed the news that the House of Commons voted last night in favor of his welfare reforms, arguing that the changes would solve the “costs catastrophic care ”facing families.

“He added that no one will be forced to sell a house in which he or his spouse lives because it will not be counted as an asset,” according to an official reading from the cabinet. This is an implicit recognition that a house can be sold once the person in need of care or their spouse no longer occupies their property.

Comments signal slight change from 2019 curator manifesto, who firmly asserted that “no one in need of care should be forced to sell their house to pay for it”.

Under the proposals, which will take effect from October 2023, low-wealth households will have to pay part of their childcare costs longer before reaching a cap of £ 86,000, after which government support will kick in. force. The reforms also abolish the means-support tested from the calculation of the ceiling.

Health experts, including economist Sir Andrew Dilnot, have expressed concern that the new proposals will disproportionately affect people with lower-value homes, many of whom are concentrated in the north of the country.

The proposals were narrowly passed in parliament on Monday evening, with MPs voting 272 to 246 in favor of the changes. But 19 Tories voted against them and 68 did not register a vote – some abstained and others abroad on trade issues.

Former health minister and chairman of the health and social services select committee Jeremy Hunt is one of many Tory MPs to have publicly criticized the reforms.

“What will happen now is you will get help when your assets drop below £ 100,000, so a lot of low income people will benefit from the new system, but it’s just not as generous. than the system that I passed in parliament in 2014 which was never passed, ”said Hunt Sky News. “So I thought the proper thing to do was to abstain.”

The bill is expected to reach the House of Lords, with second reading expected in the House before Christmas.

Former Conservative Health Secretary Lord Andrew Lansley and Baroness Altmann, former Conservative Minister for Work and Pensions, have in recent days clearly their reservations about the bill and hinted that they will try to force changes.

A Lords official told the FT that behind-the-scenes conversations were taking place between Tory MPs and their peers regarding possible amendments.

Several Tory MPs said they voted for the bill on the understanding that it would be amended by the Lords. “Monday night’s vote was just the first round of a three-round competition. I sincerely suspect that we will be in a very different place by the time the Lords have done their job, ”said one. “They can choose to change the government’s plans or seek to abandon the amendment altogether.”

The MP added: “The government faces a combination of rebels, non-voters and those like me, who have stuck with the condition that the amendment is different in the next vote. The combination of the three should be enough to force the government to give in or compromise. “

Additional reporting by Sarah Neville

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2/ https://www.ft.com/content/3917a988-275a-4156-a0f9-a64242afefb0

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