Despite a major rebellion by the Prime Minister’s ruling Conservative Party, a controversial amendment to Boris Johnson’s social plans for England was passed in the British Parliament on Monday evening.
A government change to the Health and Care Act, which changes the way an individual cap on lifelong welfare works, was passed in the House of Commons with just 26 votes, despite the 77-seat majority in the government.
Nineteen Conservative MPs voted against the measure and a further 68 abstained, meaning that just under a quarter of the party’s MPs disagreed with the government. The extent of the rebellion reflects the anger of the backbenchers over Johnson’s handling of allegations of filth and the unpopularity of the changes to the social plans.
Under the original bill announced by the government in September, all care costs would be counted towards a new cap of £ 86,000 on the amount individuals would have to pay for their care costs, with any expenses in excess of that total being borne by the state would have to be.
However, an amendment tabled by the government just days before the parliamentary debate changed the way the ceiling worked. The new legislation would exclude from the cap system costs paid by local authorities to poorer retirees based on need, which means that only the costs paid by the person would count towards their personal limit of £ 86,000.
The opposition Labor Party called the change a “scam” and said it was unfair for those on lower incomes who may have to sell their homes to pay for care. Several of Johnson’s party colleagues joined Labor in speaking out against the plans.
Mark Harper, a serial Tory rebel and former cabinet minister who voted against the change, called the amendment to the bill “potentially disadvantages the less well-off and those of working age with lifelong conditions”.
Robert Buckland, who served as Attorney General in Johnson’s cabinet until September, was among those who abstained LBC radio On Sunday he said that the government should “look again” at the plans.
Johnson defended the plans early Monday, arguing they would improve the current welfare system.
“Under the existing system, no one receives assistance if they have assets of £ 23,000 or more. Now if you have 100,000 or less you will get support so let’s help the people, ”he said.
The bill is next under scrutiny in the House of Lords, where the rebels are hoping to overturn the government change.