Furious Red Wall Tories brand Sajid Javid’s shake-up on state-funded social care costs ‘an inheritance tax on the North’ as reforms will leave lower earners worse off
- Red Wall MPs have accused Sajid Javid of imposing an ‘inheritance tax on the North’ with social care reforms
- Ministers announced the change to the new £86,000 cap on costs, which Boris Johnson unveiled in September
- The reforms means state-funded care costs will not go towards the £86,000 cap, and only private contributions will be counted
Red Wall MPs have accused Sajid Javid of imposing an ‘inheritance tax on the North’ through social care reforms as a blame game erupted in Whitehall.
One Conservative MP accused the Health Secretary of ‘playing Chancellor’ by introducing an amendment that will leave lower earners worse off.
Red Wall MPs are ‘on a warpath’ after Ministers announced the change to the new £86,000 cap on costs, which Boris Johnson unveiled in September.
It means state-funded care costs will not go towards the £86,000 cap, and only private contributions will be counted.
The measure has been branded unfair by hitting lower earners harder, with the burden expected to be felt most in the North of England.
Red Wall MPs have accused Sajid Javid of imposing an ‘inheritance tax on the North’ through social care reforms as a blame game erupted in Whitehall
Last week, Sir Andrew Dilnot, the architect of the original cap, said the amendment means pensioners with assets of £106,000 or less would lose out, while it will not make a difference to those with assets of more than £186,000.
He added this meant that those in the North or in areas with lower house prices will be most affected.
One Red Wall MP said: ‘It’s an inheritance tax on the North.’
Treasury sources have privately told MPs that Mr Javid is responsible for the amendment, which is expected to save his budget £900 million a year.
They said the Treasury claims it gave the Health Secretary’s department what it asked for.
One Conservative MP said Mr Javid wanted to use the savings to spend on other health issues. ‘He’s playing Chancellor,’ the MP said. ‘He wants to use the money for something else.’
However sources close to the Health Secretary rejected the claims and said the responsibility for the way the cap was designed lay with the Treasury.
The social care reforms will be funded by a National Insurance rise, which will then become a separate health and social care levy.
One Red Wall MP said: ‘That’s the reason the Northern MPs are getting so upset – they largely swallowed the tax rise, but if it’s not going to benefit their constituents, which is the implication, then they will be pretty p***ed off.’
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) tried to calm Tory backbenchers’ concerns on Friday evening by issuing an ‘analysis’ paper giving more details on the controversial policy switch.
Care Minister Gillian Keegan and DHSC officials held a Zoom call for worried MPs
It revealed that the proposed change is expected to save about £900 million a year.
Earlier that day, Care Minister Gillian Keegan and DHSC officials held a Zoom call for worried MPs. However, The Mail on Sunday understands that one senior Conservative railed against the lack of data and technical detail to support the plans.
Sources said the MP complained it was ‘just not good enough’ to be proceeding with a vote in the Commons tomorrow on such a basis.
Separately, one Red Wall Tory MP privately told this newspaper that the policy change was ‘perverse’ while another said, referencing the National Insurance tax rise: ‘You’re expecting us to pay for it and we’re not going to see any benefit.’
Treasury sources also hit back at any suggestions that Mr Javid’s department had been forced by Rishi Sunak to make the £900 million saving.
One said: ‘At what point does the Treasury stop getting the blame for this sort of thing?’