Labour has criticised the government’s change to social care reforms but failed to come up with details of an alternative way to fund care.

Labour MP Sarah Owen accused the Conservatives of breaking their promise that nobody would have to sell their home to pay for care.

MPs last night backed a change to social care reforms in England, which critics have said will disproportionately affect the least well off.

MPs voted 272 to 246, a majority of 26, to add the controversial proposal to the Health and Care Bill.
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MPs voted 272 to 246, a majority of 26, to add the controversial proposal to the Health and Care Bill.

Ms Owen, vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Adult Social Care, told Sky News’ Kay Burley: “What we saw last night was absolutely shocking.

“You saw a number of Conservative MPs rebel and are completely disgruntled with this because they see the inherent unfairness.

“We were told that no one would have to sell their home to pay for social care and last night the Tories broke that promise.”

Last night’s vote, which 18 Conservatives voted against and 70 did not vote, means an amendment to how the promised £86,000 lifetime cap on care costs is reached was accepted.

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The change means only the amount an individual personally pays towards their care costs will count towards the cap, not anything local authorities contribute.

People with assets of between £20,000 and £100,000 will be eligible for help and critics have said the new detail means it will take longer for those people to reach the cap so they could still end up having to use up their savings or sell their home to pay for care.

And they say it means the richest will see a greater share of their assets protected.

File photo dated 18/05/17 of an elderly man
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Critics have said the change will mean those with fewer assets will be the hardest hit

Ms Owen said Labour would bring in taxes so the wealthiest would bear the brunt of having to pay for social care while the poorest would have the least to lose.

However, she failed to provide details of exactly how Labour would tax the wealthiest and would not say if Labour would fund free personal care in England, as promised in its 2019 manifesto – costed at £6bn a year at the time.

After being repeatedly asked how Labour would tax the wealthiest, Ms Owen said: “I think people with income they get from wealth from shareholders, from pensions, dividends, those sort of things.

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“And I think that would look like people on modest incomes and households not having to sell the majority of their assets.

“I think those with the biggest incomes should have to pay for it.

“When we are talking about a wealth tax, there are many ways of doing it but ultimately we should be focused on making this the fairest way possible.”

She added that Labour would look at taxing big companies like Amazon but could not say exactly how.

Economist Sir Andrew Dilnot, who proposed a cap on costs 10 years ago, said the latest change will mean that poorer recipients of care will be hit the hardest.

“It would mean those who are less well off will hit the cap after much longer than those who are better off and will end up having to spend, if they have a long care journey, as much of their own money as people who are much better off,” he told Sky News.

But the prime minister has defended the plans, saying they address a “long-standing social injustice” that has seen those who suffer from conditions like dementia facing “catastrophic” care costs.

“Under the existing system, nobody gets any support if they have assets of £23,000 or more. Now you get support if you have £100,000 or less, so we are helping people,” Mr Johnson said.

Politics

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