'Not levelling up, it's daylight robbery': New social care plan labelled a 'con' ahead of vote

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen speaks to a couple who might have to sell their home to pay for care

The new social care plan for England has been labelled a "con" after the government made last minute changes to the funding model which Labour says will severely impact the poor and protect the rich.

Despite pledging during the 2019 general election campaign no-one will need to sell their own homes to pay for care, the government is now refusing to guarantee it can keep that promise.

Critics, which include the original architect of the plan, say it has been watered down so that people who live in cheaper houses are much more likely to have their assets wiped out if they are unfortunate enough to require social care.

Boris Johnson is facing the prospect of another backbench revolt over his adjustments to the plan, with a debate taking place in the Commons on Monday evening followed by a vote - although his majority means he is unlikely to lose.

The PM defends his social care plan:

He insisted the plan is "incredibly generous" when asked what he'd say to Tories who are considering whether to reject it.

He told the CBI annual conference that his plan fixes a "very, very unfair" system but did not address concerns that poorer people would be disproportionately impacted.

In September, the government announced that an £86,000 cap on care costs would be put in place from October 2023.

But in a policy paper last week, the government said for people who receive financial support for part of their care from their local authority, only the share they contribute themselves will go towards the £86,000 cap.

That will mean wealthy people who do not qualify for support will reach the cap threshold faster than poorer ones who have part of their care funded by their council.

Minister Paul Scully was unable to guarantee the reforms would mean no-one would be forced to sell their family home to meet the cost of adult social care in England when speaking to the media on Monday morning ahead of the evening's vote.

"There will be fewer people selling their houses and hopefully none," he said.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer it's "another day, another broken promise from this prime minister", pointing to Mr Johnson's pledge that people would not need to sell their homes to pay for care.

Former Tory chief whip Mark Harper confirmed he would be voting against the plan, saying it "potentially disadvantages the less well off and those of working age with life long conditions".

Labour' shadow health secretary issued a stinging attack on the social care plan, saying "that is not levelling up, it is daylight robbery".

Jon Ashworth told ITV News the proposals are a "care con, because... if you live in a £1 million house, perhaps in the Home Counties, 90% of your assets will be protected if you need social care.

“But if you live in an £80,000 terrace house in Hartlepool, Barrow, Mansfield or Wigan, for example, you lose nearly everything.

“That is manifestly unfair. That is not levelling up, it is daylight robbery."

The government has insisted no changes have been made to the plan, claiming it has simply added detail to the original proposals.

Labour shadow health secretary says social care plan is 'daylight robbery':

The plan will protect people with assets of less than £20,000 from paying anything at all toward their care - up from the current level of £14,250 - and those with assets worth up to £100,000 will be eligible to receive some local authority support, up from £23,250.

But the man who came up with the plan to cap the cost of social care before it was watered down, Sir Andrew Dilnot, says the changes will mean poorer recipients of care, including those in the North of England and in areas with lower house prices, will be hit hardest.

The economist told ITV News he accepted there are elements of the scheme that are more generous than what he had originally recommended in 2011, "but on the whole, the scheme is less generous".

"I was disappointed to see that this change is being made, it wasn't announced in September when the rest of the scheme was announced so it came as a surprise," he said.

He added: "Critically, it means the less well off are not offered the chance to be protected against the catastrophic consequences of needing care for a long time."

Bury South MP Christian Wakeford warned it was not a foregone conclusion that Tory MPs would back the government.

He told Times Radio: "What I wanted to see was a plan and it feels like we didn't have one then, I'm not fully sure we've got one now, but then to change, to move the goalposts after we've already been introduced this, it's not something I'm particularly comfortable with it.

"Especially when one of the main messages for introducing this levy was 'you won't need to sell your house for care', to get to a point where unfortunately you might need to and (it's) arguably our least well-off in society, our least well-off voters, again it's not something I'm particularly comfortable with."

But business minister Mr Scully told Sky News: "If you hit the cap you will not have to pay any more money for your personal care.

"I think that is a fair, balanced approach for taxpayers and people who are having to pay for what is a really expensive, at the moment, form of care through social care."

Pressed on whether some would have to sell their homes to pay for care, despite the Prime Minister's pledge that his policy meant they would not, Mr Scully replied: "I can't tell you what individuals are going to do.

"What I'm saying is the social care solution is all about getting a cap above which you do not need to pay - that gives people certainty."