The Tories will pledge to protect family homes from the sky-high cost of care bills.
Their manifesto will outline a ‘three-point plan’ to deal with the social care crisis that has bedevilled politics for decades and almost cost Theresa May the last election.
The blueprint, published next week, will include a promise to spend an extra £1billion a year on social care over the next parliament.
Their manifesto will outline a ‘three-point plan’ to deal with the social care crisis that has bedevilled politics for decades and almost cost Theresa May the last election
The manifesto will call for cross-party talks to find a long-term solution to shore up the care system and ‘give every person the dignity and security that they deserve’.
The Tories say in those talks they will have ‘one red line: we will protect the family home’.
It means that, for the first time, the children of those going into care will be confident they will inherit their family home – rather than having to sell it to pay huge care bills – after a parent dies.
Writing for the Daily Mail, Health Secretary Matt Hancock says: ‘The desire to pass on your home is a fundamental human instinct. Like millions of people across our country, I know just how important it is to people to own their home.
‘It is a symbol of what we have achieved in life. It is something we have worked for, built, protected and preserved, with the expectation that we can leave it to our children. People feel it viscerally. I feel it viscerally.
‘We all want to be able to pass something to future generations. And it breaks my heart to hear stories of people who have worked hard all their life being forced to sell their home to pay for their care. So the third point of our plan for social care will be, without exception, that it must guarantee no one will have to sell their home to pay for care.’
The Conservatives are keen to avoid the disaster of Mrs May’s 2017 election campaign, when she outlined detailed proposals that allowed Labour to characterise the plans as a ‘dementia tax’.
Her commitment to scrap David Cameron’s pledge to cap the amount people spend on their care proved so unpopular that she had to announce a mid-campaign U-turn – vowing ‘nothing has changed’.
A law will be passed at some point in the next parliament to enshrine this commitment, if the Tories win the election
To avoid a damaging repeat, Mr Johnson is seeking to defer any decisions until after the election. At present, everyone has to pay the full cost of their care up to their final £23,250, which includes the value of their house.
Homeowners can take out loans from their local council, which are paid back after they die. This means no one has to sell their home while they are receiving care. But it can mean their children are forced to sell the property after their parents die because of the huge size of the loans.
Mr Johnson’s pledge rules this situation out.
A law will be passed at some point in the next parliament to enshrine this commitment, if the Tories win the election.
The Conservatives will pledge to plough an extra £1billion a year into social care to help plug the gaps in the system until a new policy is worked out. It is also expected that local authorities will be able to put up council tax by an extra 2 per cent every year to help fund the system.
Every 2 per cent rise adds around £5 to an average Band D household’s council tax bill.
If he wins the election, Mr Johnson will invite opposition leaders to take part in cross-party talks on the long-term future of social care.
The discussions will look at a range of options including compulsory insurance schemes, paying for the cost of future care through your wage slip, or tax rises to provide a free state-funded social care for everyone. The talks will discuss whether there should be a cap on the amount individuals have to pay, with the state covering the rest.
The Tories say that if other parties do not agree to take part in these talks, they will go ahead and come up with plans of their own.
In his article, Mr Hancock says previous governments have failed to address the failings in social care because it had been used as a ‘political football ahead of elections’.
He adds that the three steps of the plan are: £1billion a year of extra funding; cross-party discussions; and the ‘red line’ that no one’s home will be up for grabs.
Boris Johnson promises to slash National Insurance… giving everyone an extra £460 a year in their pocket
Boris Johnson last night gave his election hopes a boost with a near £500 tax cut.
The Prime Minister used a visit to an engineering works on Teesside to make an impromptu announcement that the Tories will raise the threshold for paying National Insurance to £12,500 if they win next month’s election.
This would give millions of workers a tax cut worth £464 a year.
Mr Johnson said the Conservatives would phase in the first instalment next year, raising the threshold from £8,683 to £9,500 – delivering a immediate gain of around £100. He said this first step would cost an ‘affordable’ £2.1billion. The final cost is likely to top £10billion.
Mr Johnson also promised to fix the broken social care system, saying: ‘We will ensure two things: that everyone has dignity and security in old age; and that nobody – I repeat nobody – has to sell their home to pay for the cost of care.’
The announcements came as:
n The Prime Minister revealed he had demanded cuts to the budget of HS2 –which he said had risen to ‘the thick end of £100billion – before he would back it;
n The Conservatives unveiled plans to help renters by establishing a new ‘lifetime deposit’ scheme that will allow people to transfer their deposit directly from one property to the next;
n Ministers pledged to maintain the current level of farm subsidies for at least the next five years – easing concerns that they would end after Brexit;
n Home Secretary Priti Patel revealed plans for tougher sentences for yobs who attack emergency services workers;
n Mr Johnson refused to be drawn on whether he would press ahead with a proposal to axe stamp duty on all home sales under £500,000 which he first floated during the Tory leadership campaign in the summer.
The Prime Minister’s decision to let slip his flagship tax pledge before his manifesto launch on Sunday appeared to be unplanned and caught aides by surprise.
He revealed the proposal after being challenged over his tax plans by industrial chemist Claire Cartlidge, who asked him: ‘Are these tax cuts for people like you or people like us?’ The Prime Minister appeared to be stung by the question, and replied: ‘I mean low tax for working people… we are going to be cutting National Insurance up to £12,000.’
Aides then confirmed that the Conservative manifesto would contain a pledge to raise the threshold to £12,500.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies said the policy would cost £11billion to implement in full, although it is likely to be phased in over at least five years.
Around 2.5million low-paid workers could be taken out of paying National Insurance altogether. The independent think-tank has described the proposal as ‘probably the best thing one can do through the tax system to help low earners’. The better-off will also benefit.
Mr Johnson hinted that plans to raise the threshold for paying 40p tax from £50,000 to £80,000 are likely to be shelved, at least for now.
Speaking to journalists during a campaign trip to Saltburn by the Sea, Mr Johnson said the plan to help higher earners directly had now been relegated to an ‘ambition’. He said the priority was to help the low-paid – but pointed out that the National Insurance cut would help the high-paid too.
The PM said he was still committed to the idea of tax cuts for the better-off ‘in principle’, but said: ‘We have to start with where it matters most.’
He added: ‘The thinking behind it is that we’re tax-cutting Conservatives but we think this is the moment to help people with the cost of living, and to do more to help people on low incomes with the cost of living, to put more money into their pockets, and we have to do that in a way that is prudent, that is affordable.
‘This will put around £500 in people’s pockets. It’s good for the economy, it stimulates consumption, it stimulates growth but it also will help people with the cost of living.’
Mr Johnson’s tax plans come after a decade in which successive Conservative governments raised the personal allowance for income tax to £12,500.
Although the move has taken millions out of the tax system, many low-paid workers still pay National Insurance on their earnings at a rate of 12 per cent.
Mr Johnson’s tax plans represent a compromise with Chancellor Sajid Javid, who warned it was not affordable to bring in the huge National Insurance cut in one step – or pursue tax cuts for higher earners at the same time.
Ministers hope the relative restraint will contrast favourably with Labour’s proposals to spend more.
The Treasury also resisted plans to offer free social care, arguing that the £6billion additional annual cost was unaffordable.
MATT HANCOCK: We will help elderly to keep their dignity by proposing long-term solution to social care crisis
People are living longer, healthier lives. Thanks to decades of economic growth and scientific innovation, we are becoming better at diagnosing, preventing and treating diseases. Deaths from stroke are down 50 per cent, and many fewer die from heart disease. The good news is that as a result people are living longer lives. But we have to recognise that, alongside the rise of dementia and other chronic conditions, our successes in helping people live longer means the pressures on the elderly care system are ever-increasing. The baby boomers are getting more frail. Within 25 years, it is estimated that the proportion of people over 85 will almost double.
A person aged 65 can expect to have care costs of around £40,000 on average over later life. But this average figure is very variable. Around one in ten people will have care costs of more than £100,000 before accommodation costs, while around one in four will have no costs at all. And you can’t know in advance. There is normally no way to predict whether that will be you and the risk is not shared across society. At the same time, the number of people of working age needing care is rising, and our expectations as a society of how well people should be cared for are rightly rising.
The Health Secretary Matt Hancock is pictured campaigning for the General Election in Nottingham on Tuesday with a visit to the Queens Medical Centre. We have to recognise that, alongside the rise of dementia and other chronic conditions, our successes in helping people live longer means the pressures on the elderly care system are ever-increasing
This is a long-term problem, and it requires a long-term solution. Successive governments have failed to properly address this issue, in part because people have used social care as a political football ahead of elections. More recently, the impasse in Parliament over Brexit has made it harder to make any progress. We must break this deadlock and move things forward.
We need a long-term solution for social care that rises above Party politics. So the approach that we Conservatives will take is the one we think is best designed to bring people together and solve the problem once and for all.
In our manifesto we will commit to an ambitious three-point plan to address the social care challenge and give people across our country the dignity and security they deserve.
First, we need to stabilise the current social care system and provide extra support to people of all ages who need it right now. This means supporting councils and ensuring they have the funds they need to address social care.
In the Autumn, we committed £1 billion extra funding to help local authorities to meet rising demand. At this election, we are going further and will commit this £1 billion additional funding for every year of the new Parliament – a £5 billion commitment across the next parliament to support local authorities to meet peoples’ needs for more social care staff, better infrastructure, technology and facilities.
A vital part of stabilising the current system will be ensuring the social care sector has the workforce it needs. Our ‘When you care, every day makes a difference’ recruitment campaign has already been incredibly successful, and we will redouble work to raise awareness of the benefits of a fulfilling career in adult social care, to ensure we have the staff necessary to run a strong and sustainable social care system. We will do more to support our carers, with more training, by harnessing technology and by raising the national living wage, and extra support for unpaid carers who do so much. We will ensure people with autism and learning disabilities get better, more appropriate care. We will focus on independence, wellbeing and improving the quality of life for people of working age who need care. And we will ensure we give people long-term peace of mind about future care provision.
Important as it is, it is not enough just to improve the foundations of the current system. We have to find a sustainable solution that settles this issue for the future. This is a long-term problem, and it requires a long-term solution.
Over the last decade, both main parties have seen what happens to bold and complex social care reform plans unveiled in the heat of a hyper-partisan election campaign. This issue is too important to be politicised.
So rather than play politics with social care, the second point of our plan will be to urgently work across parliament to find a cross-party consensus that addresses the significant and complex challenges we face. This process will begin as soon as the next Parliament is established, and we will bring forward an answer that solves the problem, commands the widest possible support, and stands the test of time.
We will consider a range of options, but we will have one red line: we will protect the family home.
The desire to pass on your home is a fundamental human instinct. Like millions of people across our country, I know just how important it is to people to own their home. It is a symbol of what we have achieved in life. It is something we have worked for, built, protected and preserved, with the expectation that we can leave it to our children. People feel it viscerally. I feel it viscerally.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks to workers as he visits Wilton Engineering Services as part of a General Election campaign trail stop yesterday. Only Boris Johnson and a Conservative majority government will get Brexit done, and move the country forward to give every person the dignity and security that they deserve
We all want to be able to pass something to future generations. And it breaks my heart to hear stories of people who have worked hard all their life being forced to sell their home to pay for their care.
So the third point of our plan for social care will be, without exception, that it must guarantee that no one needing care will have to sell their home to pay for it.
This three-point plan – stabilising the current system, immediately securing cross-party consensus for a long-term solution, and guaranteeing that no one will have to sell their home to pay for care – will provide certainty and security for our older population.
Only Boris Johnson and a Conservative majority government will get Brexit done, and move the country forward to give every person the dignity and security that they deserve.