MPs have backed a controversial amendment to social care reforms in England, despite a rebellion among Conservative backbenchers.
Labour and other opposition parties rejected the plan – with 19 Tory MPs also refusing to vote in favour of a tweak to the plans. There were 70 abstentions.
But the vote passed by 272 votes to 246, a majority of 26.
The change would mean that means-tested funding from councils would not go towards an £86,000 cap on care costs.
Critics say this would lead to those with fewer assets and facing significant care journeys paying the same amount for their care as wealthier people who don’t qualify for council support.
Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said Conservative MPs voted to “break their promise that nobody would have to sell their homes to pay for their social care costs and voted to hammer poorer pensions to protect millionaires in mansions”.
She tweeted last night: “It’s an inheritance tax on the north and a con, not a social care plan.”
Sir Andrew Dilnot, who first proposed a cap on care costs in 2011, said the people who are most harshly effected by this change will be people with assets of exactly £106,000 – that is the £86,000 of cap, plus £20,000 that’s protected by the means-tested system.
He added: “But everybody with assets of less than £186,000 would do less well under what the government is proposing than the proposals that we made and the proposals that were legislated for. That was a big change announced. It finds savings exclusively from the less well-off group.”
But despite widespread beliefs that social care reforms have been watered down, Boris Johnson defended the plans as “incredibly generous”.
The prime minister said: “Under the existing system, nobody gets any support if they have assets of £23,000 or more. Now you get support if you have £100,000 or less so we are helping people.”