Home sales to fund social care? We can’t say, says Paul Scully

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Paul Scully said: “There will be fewer people selling their houses and hopefully none.” (UK Parliament)
Paul Scully said: “There will be fewer people selling their houses and hopefully none.” (UK Parliament)

A minister on Monday repeatedly refused to say that people won’t have to sell their home to cover social care costs as Boris Johnson faced a Tory rebellion over reforms which critics say hit the poorest hardest.

Mr Johnson promised in the Conservatives’ 2019 general election manifesto that “nobody needing care should be forced to sell their home to pay for it”.

But an amendment to legislation being voted on by MPs on Monday would see many people having to pay up to a cap of £86,000 on care costs because those receiving council contributions will not be able to take them into account.

The change means those living in more deprived areas of England where property prices are lower may be at risk of having to sell their homes.

Asked five times on Sky News, whether people would have to sell their home to pay for elderly care, small business minister Paul Scully said: “There will be fewer people selling their houses and hopefully none.”

Pressed on why the PM had made the commitment in the 2019 manifesto, he added: “He was boiling down a complicated message...now the detail is there.” Economist Sir Andrew Dilnot, architect of the social care reforms, criticised the amendment. He added that “for those with assets of say less than £100,000 we are not tackling catastrophic costs.”

Labour says it undermines Mr Johnson’s promise to level up the country because people living in areas of the North and the Midlands, where house prices are lower, will be at risk of having to sell their homes to cover care.

Some Tory MPs, including former justice secretary Robert Buckland, are threatening to vote against the Government on social care. Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “It’s not a care plan, it’s a care con… I hope Tory MPs reject it tonight.”

Mr Scully said: “It strikes a balance, it’s necessary, fair, it’s responsible… It’s a significant increase in state support but there is no perfect system.”

Meanwhile the head of the CBI Tony Danker accused Mr Johnson of saying “very little” about how to revive regional economies outside the South-East. He was speaking ahead of the PM’s speech to the CBI’s annual conference in South Shields today, in which he was due to announce that all new homes and buildings will from next year have to install electric vehicle charging points.

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