Two blows to the North in one day? Boris Johnson's new social care plan sparks row

Credit: PA

Pensioners in the North of England are likely to be worst hit by a last-minute change to the government's social care legislation, according to the man who first came up with the idea of a cap on costs.

Sir Andrew Dilnot's warning comes amid frustration that the government abandoned plans for high speed railway lines connecting northern regions with each other and London.Sir Andrew, an economist who had proposed social care reforms to the government, told MPs he was "very disappointed" by the social care plan, which would adversely affect anyone with assets of £106,000 or less.

The proposed cap is £86,000 but the effect of the technical change to the legislation is that poorer people who get help with care costs will end up paying exactly the same as wealthier pensioners.

"It finds savings exclusively from the less well-off," Sir Andrew said.

And speaking at the Treasury Select Committee, he warned that pensioners "will be much less protected against catastrophic risk".

He said there was a "sort of North-South axis to this that people living in in the North and other less high house price areas are likely to be harder by this on average".

Some people would end up using up 80% of their wealth  instead of a maximum of a half under the previous plan.

Sir Andrew Dilnot is very disappointed" by the social care plan. Credit:

The Prime Minister rejected the criticisms saying: "This is a massive improvement for everybody in the whole country because what we're saying is for the first time in history, we are stopping people having to pay unlimited quantities for their care".

One aspect of the plan is more generous, according to Sir Andrew, namely that more people will qualify through a means-test for help with their upfront care costs - before reaching the cap.

Currently anyone with assets of £23,000 or less gets help from the government. The threshold will rise to £100,000 under the new plan.