Boris Johnson’s cabinet approved plans to overhaul social services – but minister says it would be ‘arrogant’ to ensure problems are solved

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Boris Johnson’s cabinet approved plans to overhaul social services – but minister says it would be ‘arrogant’ to ensure problems are solved


Boris Johnson is expected to increase national insurance by around 1.2% to pay off a pledge to end ‘catastrophic costs’ of social care – but Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi says it would be ‘arrogant’ to suggest that problems can definitely be solved.

Tory MPs say the move amounts to a £ 10 billion tax raid.

Mr. Zahawi then said that the Prime Minister is “serious about solving the problem”, the problem “will increase before it improves”.

It comes as the Prime Minister plans a major launch later today of a long-awaited reshuffle that he says will fulfill the commitment he made when he became Prime Minister two years ago of ” repair them care system« .

The rise in national insurance will also help fund a major campaign to clear the huge backlog of NHS operations and treatments caused by COVID, which has seen waiting lists climb to more than five million.

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak appealed for loyalty to the Prime Minister on Monday evening

The extra money for the NHS will be intended to boost hospital capacity amid forecasts that the backlog could more than double to 13 million people on waiting lists by the end of this year.

Downing Street confirmed on Tuesday morning that Cabinet ministers approved the plans.

Sky News understands that the new social protection plan will put a cap on the amount an individual will pay of around £ 86,000.

For retirement homes, this may not include accommodation costs.

It is also believed that the Prime Minister will announce that the threshold for people to start paying for their own care – currently if you have assets of £ 23,350 – will rise to around £ 100,000.

It would save more people from having to pay.

Meanwhile, it is expected that active retirees will also have to pay the new sum, although people will be exempt from national insurance payments after reaching retirement age.

The welfare reform proposals will only apply to England, but the tax changes will affect the whole of the UK.

Mr Johnson will face Tory critics and opposition MPs in a statement in the House of Commons on Tuesday afternoon.

He will then attempt to portray a united ministerial front by unveiling the government’s proposals at a press conference in Downing Street, flanked by Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid.

After briefing his ministerial colleagues on Tuesday morning, the prime minister’s official spokesperson said the Cabinet “agreed with the plan presented by the prime minister” but declined to say whether objections were raised against the proposal. increase in national insurance.

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Nadhim Zahawi said the prime minister was ‘serious’ about solving the welfare issue

Speaking ahead of the announcement, Mr Zahawi told Sky News: “I think you have to at least try to make sure you fix a problem.

“It would be presumptuous and I think completely arrogant to say of course that would solve the problem. “

“I think in fact, when you see the details of what the Prime Minister is going to lay out, you will see that this is a Prime Minister who is serious about solving the problem.

“I’m just respectful and careful and I’m not arrogant to say – of course everything will be fixed in five minutes – it won’t, both in terms of the delay, we’re going to tackle it, we want it. reduce, but it will increase before it improves. “

The Prime Minister says the social care package is a ‘fair, reasonable and necessary plan’ to ensure the NHS has the long-term funding it needs.

But he faces a furious backlash from ministers and backbenchers who are furious that the prime minister is about to break a promise in the 2019 Tories election manifesto not to increase national insurance.

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July 2019 – Boris Johnson’s first speech as Prime Minister in full

Other Conservative MPs say the proposals will hit low-income and modest-income workers while protecting wealthier couples who are currently forced to sell their homes to pay for care later in life.

But ahead of the launch, a provocateur Mr Johnson said: ‘The NHS is the pride of our UK, but it has been put to the test by the pandemic. We cannot expect him to recover on his own.

2019 Conservative manifesto included a personal 'guarantee' from Boris Johnson that there would be no tax hike
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2019 Conservative manifesto included a personal ‘guarantee’ from Boris Johnson that there would be no tax hike

“We must act now to ensure the health and care system has the long-term funding it needs to continue to fight COVID and start tackling backlogs, and end cost injustice catastrophic for social care.

“My government will not avoid the tough decisions needed to get NHS patients the treatment they need and to fix our broken welfare system. “

But while the Conservative manifesto promised a “long-term solution” on social protection, it also pledged: “We promise not to increase the rates of income tax, national insurance or social security. VAT.

“This is a tax guarantee that will protect the incomes of hard-working families during the next legislature. “

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Labor shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth hit back at the prime minister ahead of his social protection plans unveiled.

“A conservative decade of neglect has left us unprepared for the pandemic and means waiting lists are at record levels with patients waiting longer in pain, A&E regularly in crisis, cancer survival rates at risk of backing off and millions of people struggling to access adequate mental health support, ”said Ashworth.

“In social services, radical cuts have left the service at breaking points and left more than a million of the most vulnerable people without help.

“A long-term plan on social care and a bailout to deal with the crisis the NHS has been in for years are both long overdue.

FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY.  NO SALE.  NO ARCHIVING.  NO MODIFICATION OR HANDLING.  NO USE ON SOCIAL MEDIA UNLESS AGREED BY HOC PHOTOGRAPHY SERVICE.  MANDATORY CREDIT: British Parliament / Jessica Taylor Photo released by the British Parliament showing Prime Minister Boris Johnson providing an update on the latest situation in Afghanistan to Members of the House of Commons in London.  Picture date: Monday September 6, 2021.
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The Prime Minister will unveil his plans in a statement in the House of Commons on Tuesday. Photo: British Parliament / Jessica Taylor

“The NHS desperately needs it, but the Prime Minister – along with all Conservative MPs – was elected on a manifesto that promised to fix social care on a plan that had been worked out and promised no increase in national insurance.

“His broken promises on tax hikes cannot be followed by other broken promises for the NHS. “

In an 11-hour attempt to win over angry Tory MPs, Mr Sunak appealed for loyalty to the prime minister in a speech Monday night to the 1922 backbench committee.

“It’s fair to say we have a tough fall ahead,” the Chancellor said.

“That doesn’t mean there won’t be disagreements. There always is. But we must never lose sight of the central fact that we are a team, leading with our values ​​and presenting a united front to the country.

“Like all of you, I take our example from the Prime Minister, the leader of our party and the country. We owe him our support and loyalty.

Foreshadowing the Prime Minister’s funding plans, a government source said: “The NHS took care of us during the worst pandemic in a century.

“More than half a million COVID patients have been admitted to hospital since March 2020, and in a single day in January 2021, more than 34,000 patients were hospitalized.

“During the national restrictions, the NHS remained open to anyone who needed it. Urgent treatments, including cancer care and emergency services, continued.

“NHS staff and beds have been redirected from elective care to help the influx of COVID patients. A comprehensive immunization system has been put in place from the ground up, delivering 88 million vaccines so far and saving countless lives.

“Less urgent treatment has been temporarily suspended and as a result the number of people waiting for treatment has increased rapidly. “

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NHS to get an additional £ 5.4bn, Javid says

The government says a new plan is now needed to put in place the resources to provide care and treatment for all and to protect the ability of the NHS to perform the basic function for which it was created.

Ministers admit that the number of patients awaiting elective surgery and routine treatment in England has reached an all-time high of more than five million and – unchecked – could reach 13 million by the end of l ‘year.

Before the pandemic, nine in 10 people were treated within 26 weeks. Despite the tremendous efforts of NHS staff, it has now been 44 weeks and more than 300,000 people have been waiting for elective care for over a year.

This includes hip replacements, knee surgery, and treatment for cataracts, all of which can severely limit a person’s quality of life.

On social care, the government says that under the current system anyone with assets over £ 23,350 pays for their care in full. This can lead to increased costs and the complete liquidation of someone’s assets.

Around one in seven people now pay more than £ 100,000 and there is an unfair gap between someone with dementia paying for their full care while someone in the NHS receives care for free.

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