Boris Johnson to announce cap on care bills

Boris Johnson backs plans for new tax to cover social care reforms as Number 10 puts last touches to deal to finally ‘fix’ crisis

  • Boris Johnson wants to publish his anticipated social care bill later this month
  • The PM promised his plan when he entered Number 10 on July 24, 2019
  • It is believed the amount charged for care will be capped at around £50,000 

Boris Johnson is preparing to announce a cap on the amount people have to pay for their care as soon as next week.

Number 10 and the Treasury are said to be putting the final touches to a deal to ‘fix’ the social care crisis.

The Prime Minister is understood to be keen to publish reforms before the second anniversary of his entry into Downing Street on July 24, when he first promised to bring forward plans.

Last night it was claimed that Downing Street is considering introducing a new tax to pay for the reforms.

The Times reported that No 10 was ‘comfortable’ with imposing an additional levy on families.

However senior Tories fear it would break the party’s manifesto commitment not to raise income tax, National Insurance or VAT. 

It could mean a separate ‘social care levy’ on income, or an added amount that only the over-40s would have to pay. 

Boris Johnson, pictured, is planning to release his social care plan later this month 

The Prime Minister is anxious for his plan for the care of the elderly before he reaches his second anniversary at Number 10

It could mean a separate ‘social care levy’ on income, or an added amount that only the over-40s would have to pay.

Caroline Abrahams of Age UK said: ‘If a credible package of social care refinancing and reform requires a tax rise, so be it, provided it’s fair.’

Following a speech yesterday, Mr Johnson said people would see his social care proposals ‘before too long’.

The reforms – designed to stop people being landed with sky-high care bills which force them to sell their homes – are believed to be based on those first put forward by Sir Andrew Dilnot just over a decade ago.

Sir Andrew proposes that there should be a lifetime cap on care costs set at £50,000 – after which the state would step in to pay.

One senior Tory said the PM refers to Sir Andrew’s proposals as ‘my plan’. But the Treasury – concerned about the £10billion cost of the reforms – has been arguing for the cap to be set at a slightly higher level.

It is understood that Mr Johnson is personally pushing for the social care package to be nailed down in the coming days as the second anniversary of his pledge to fix the crisis approaches.

He has told colleagues he wants to use his 80-strong majority to find a lasting settlement that will ‘smash’ the problem for a generation.

Sources initially played down the prospect of a breakthrough yesterday, but following further talks optimism was rising that a deal might finally be struck.

One insider said: ‘There are still quite a few pieces that need to fall into place. It might not happen next week, but it could. If not, you are looking at the autumn.’

Key players in the talks include Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

Last night charities said they hoped the reforms were finally on the way, so that there would be enough time for a new system to be introduced before the next election.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: ‘The truth is that everyone involved in social care is pretty worn out and demoralised by the terrible last 18 months battling Covid-19, and just wants the government to get its act together and deliver on the Prime Minister’s promise to “fix social care, once and for all”.

‘They haven’t got the time or the energy to follow the machinations in Whitehall, they are too busy trying to help older and disabled people live decent lives, usually against the odds because of grossly inadequate funds and too few staff.

‘For their sake I sincerely hope this is not another false dawn. They badly need our government to follow through.’

At present, people have to pay the full cost of their care until their assets – including the value of their home – fall to £23,250.

This means that thousands of people in care are unable to pass the family home on to their children, because the house has to be sold to meet the care costs.

Last week Mr Javid suggested that taxes may have to rise to pay for a new social care system.

The new Health Secretary said that although he was instinctively in favour of low taxes, an increase to pay for care may end up being the ‘practical and obvious’ solution.

It is not yet known which tax rises are being considered, although some campaigners have called for an increase to National Insurance.

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