'I could not support this proposal' - MPs rebel in care bill vote

Dr Dan Poulter

Dr Dan Poulter hopes the government will change the Care Bill when it comes back to the House of Commons. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Two Suffolk Conservative MPs rebelled against the government in Monday's vote on changes to care payments - warning that the proposals would hit those with modest homes the hardest.

The government is proposing a mechanism that would see it pay for long-term care for those who needed it - once the total cost exceeded £86,000.

Research has shown that while this will benefit those whose homes have very high valuations, people whose homes are valued between £100,000 and £180,000 could be worse off because they will face massive care bills that will be a significant proportion of the value of their estates.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter and Waveney MP Peter Aldous were among 19 Conservatives to rebel against the government on Monday evening. A further 68 abstained. The government ended up with a majority of 26 - way down from its current working majority of 77.

Dr Poulter was one of the ministers who pushed through the 2015 Care Act when he was a junior minister in the Coalition government.

He said: "That was based on the principles of the Dilnott Report and was the first step towards making things fairer."

Former government advisor Andrew Dilnott produced a report for the Cameron Government on future funding for the care sector - but much of this was ignored because ministers feared it would be too expensive.

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The MP said: "When I looked at the proposal to set the cap at £86,000 I was worried about the impact that was likely to have in places in my constituency like Whitehouse and Whitton.

"I told the Chief Whip I probably knew more about care provision than he did and that I could not support this proposal."

Dr Poulter said he expected the bill to be amended in the House of Lords where former health and care ministers like Andrew Lansley and Ros Altmann were opposed to the £86,000 cap.

Dr Poulter said: "I hope the government has the sense to reflect on this when it comes back (to the Commons) - if they try the same bill again many of those abstentions may turn into votes against."

Peter Aldous, Waveney MP

Peter Aldous is concerned about the impact of the bill on those with modest homes. - Credit: House of Commons

Mr Aldous agreed that his concern was people living in modest homes in Lowestoft: "I cannot support something that is going to be targeted to hit those living in homes worth between £100,000 and £180,000," he said.

He said that during the coalition years there were regular committees formed between the two parties that ironed out problems like this before they came to the House of Commons - but now it sometimes seemed that legislation was proposed without sufficient scrutiny until it became public and that forced MPs to consider rebelling.

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