Boris Johnson’s care bill ‘disaster’ for the poor becomes law as Lords back down

Poorer and northerner pensioners in England will be forced to pay more than Boris Johnson’s original plan – after he turned around and hammered them with extra costs

Boris Johnson at a care home in east London
Boris Johnson at a care home in east London

Boris Johnson’s ‘catastrophe’ on care costs for poorer and northern pensioners will become law after the House of Lords resigned in a bitter row last night.

The £86,000 lifetime cap on what a person pays for their care will begin next autumn in England after the Health and Care Act cleared its final hurdle.

But the Prime Minister refused to back down and let people with assets worth around £75,000 to £150,000 pay more than his original plan.

The Prime Minister’s long-delayed welfare plans put a £86,000 limit on how much care residents will have to pay over their lifetime from October 2023.

Originally, that would have included money that municipalities pay to care for people when they qualify for means-tested assistance.

But a late shake ruled out the sums councils pay to care for a person.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies and Health Foundation warned that older people with modest resources would be hit hardest and would face “catastrophic costs”.

Ministers say the plans are still more generous than the current system.

After twice rejecting the move, the House of Lords last night voted 196 to 160, majority 36, to back down on the ceiling.

Labor front-bencher Baroness Wheeler said: “The level of the ceiling and the implementation are heavily in favor of the better off and would do almost nothing for the worst.

“It’s unfair and the opposite of leveling up.

“The elderly and those of modest means all fare poorly on government fee proposals.”

She added: “Someone with a fortune of £100,000 will lose almost everything, while someone with a fortune of over £1million will keep almost everything.”

Health Secretary Lord Kamall defended the measure, saying: “It is fair and affordable and aims to end the pain of unpredictable care costs by capping the amount everyone would have to pay to £86,000.”

Charts show how care home occupants’ wealth is depleted under various Tory plans. The green line is the new plan, the orange line is the old plan, and the blue line is the current plan


Department of Health and Welfare)

He added: “This House will be aware that governments of all parties have considered welfare for many years but have not implemented reforms because of concerns about the affordability of introducing a cap.

“I have already said that reports have gathered dust on the shelves but have never really been acted upon. Now we have a real chance to catch the nettle.”

A renewed motion in the House of Lords to improve workforce planning in health and social services in England – pushed by Tory Jeremy Hunt – also failed.

The peers, by a vote of 204 to 169, majority 35, rejected a move to force ministers to publish a report on staffing needs every three years to address staff shortages.

Both issues had been central points of contention during the Health and Care Act by the Lords, sparking Tory revolts in the House of Commons.

But the unelected Lords finally relented after Boris Johnson refused to back down.

The unelected Lords finally relented after Boris Johnson refused to back down



It marks an end to the tussle between the two chambers over the law, known as parliamentary ping-pong.

With the current session of Parliament expected to end on Thursday, the standoff had to be resolved before then, or legislation would have collapsed ahead of the Queen’s May 10 speech.

It was one of six bills fought by Boris Johnson days before Parliament was adjourned ahead of the Queen’s May 10 speech.

Two of those bills were also approved by the Lords last night – the Buildings Security Act and the Police Act, which will give police officers the power of the ‘police state’ to introduce noise limits for protests.

Three bills are still being fought over — on curbing judicial review, tightening laws on asylum seekers, and offers to give the government more control over election oversight.

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