Government plans for care cap costs set to be derailed by House of Lords
4 minutes to read
The peers pledged to “do whatever it takes” to ditch the government’s controversial welfare plans when the health and welfare bill goes to the House of Lords next week.
The government faced major backlash last week after the introduction of an article in the bill detailing the cost of the social care cap. It showed that means-tested payments from local authorities would not count towards the Â£ 86,000 cap, leaving the less wealthy worse off.
Sir Andrew Dilnot, who originally conceived the concept of the cap, said low-income people would be disproportionately affected by the update.
While the controversial care cap clause was narrowly passed in the House of Commons, 19 Conservative MPs voted against the government, while 68 abstained.
Labor and Liberal Democrat colleagues have now said they will work with all parties to remove the part of the bill that would see the poorest retirees contributing more of their assets to their care costs when it goes through the House of the Lords next week.
“We will do all we can to remove the cap clause from the bill,” Baroness Glenys Thornton told PoliticsHome, Labor Party spokesperson for health in the Lords.
“We will ask the Commons to reconsider the matter because there was so much concern and discontent.
Baroness Thornton said the Lords would demand an impact assessment of the details of social care costs.
“We cannot look at it properly without it,” she added.
It is likely that a process known as “parliamentary ping-pong” between the two houses could be triggered next March if the Lords remove the controversial clause, only for the government to then reinstate in the Commons.
Analysis released by the iPaper found that under the updated plan, people with no savings to use for their care but who own a house with an average price of Â£ 160,000 – mostly people living in the north from England – would end up using 54% of their assets to pay for their care.
Those who have no savings but have more valuable assets will only use 32% of their assets. Most of them are said to be people living in traditional Tory seats in the south, where the average price of a house is Â£ 270,000.
Tory rebels have described the sudden update in the cost of care as “shifting the goals” and many have suggested the bill would not survive passage by the Lords at second reading on December 7.
While the Tories don’t enjoy the same majority scale in the Lords as they do in the Commons, they remain the largest party and many unaffiliated members – some of whom have been added to the upper house since Boris Johnson became Premier. Minister – tend to vote with the government.
But defeat is possible if Labor, Liberal Democrats and their interbank counterparts team up and either scrap the amendment entirely or come up with their own.
Liberal Democrat colleague Baroness Walmsley, deputy party leader in the Lords, confirmed her party’s readiness to work with Labor to remove the clause.
“It penalizes the poor who will have to pay for their care much longer,” she said.
“They will also keep a lower percentage of their assets than better-off people, if at all.”
It is speculated that some Tories are so enraged by the “unfairness” of the social care ceiling introduced by Health Secretary Sajid Javid that they may also rebel against the Lords government.
At least three conservative peers are believed to be skeptical of the decision to remove local government grants from the account for the Â£ 86,000 social care cap and want to see reforms.
It appeared today that social protection whatite paper is due for government release on Wednesday, which could alleviate some details of the policy that have sparked accusations of unfairness by explaining how the new payment structure would create a better system of care.
An impact assessment is also due to be released by the government on the policy, but it has been suggested that there will be so much time between the second reading of the bill on December 7 and the votes held in March in committee, that the whips will have ample time to try to influence the Conservative members to obtain their support.
Both measures could be seen as an attempt to get the bill through the Lords.
The Observer reported that Lords’ Health Minister Lord Kamall had pointed out that the legislation would not come back to the House of Lords in its current form.
Baroness Thornton said some Tories have suggested that many backbench Tory MPs think the proposed system is unfair, especially to so-called ‘red wall’ voters in the north, and “they do not wish to be identified. with this injustice “.
“The government has several months for two things to happen,” she said.
âOne is to get more people to understand and dislike the implications of this legislation, and the other is to publish the impact assessment. [where the government could] let’s say we’re going to mitigate it and change it. “
However, she said, if they don’t, then a ping-pong between the Commons and the Lords is likely.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reports and analysis: