Paul Scully was put on the spot by Sky News’ Kay Burley on Monday over the government’s planned social care reforms as the presenter compared the new strategy to the Conservatives’ promises from the 2019 general election.
MPs are due to vote on the government’s new proposals on Monday evening.
The reforms have become a controversial topic after the department of health and social care revealed last week that its calculations for the cap on lifetime care costs could actually leave thousands of the poorest pensioners paying the same as the wealthier people.
Small business minister Scully told Sky News the government have been “consistent” throughout by explaining that no one will have to pay above the cap – £86,000 – for social care in their lifetime.
He told Burley that it was also a much more “generous scheme” than the one currently in place, adding: “Effectively you won’t have to pay any more money than above the cap, that’s the personal care you’ll get.”
Burley quickly pointed out: “The headline was that the prime minister promised as part of the last [general] election that no one would have to sell their homes as part of their care.”
Indeed, the Tories’ 2019 manifesto promised: “Nobody needing care should be forced to sell their home to pay for it.”
When Scully then started saying the “details are what’s important”, Burley interrupted and said: “The detail is some people will have to sell their homes, some won’t.”
“Some people don’t have homes, some people have homes of different amounts,” Scully continued.
“Why would he [Johnson] say it then?”
The small business minister explained: “What we are trying to do is find a cross-party or consensus, to actually tackle an issue which has been around for at least a decade in terms of this thorny issue because we’ve not been able to find a satisfactory solution.
“So it’s always been kicked into the long grass.
“What we’re now in the position to do is say, there is the cap, there is the cap above which you won’t have to sell your house to pay for social care.”
“So he [Johnson] was telling lies then, in order to win the election?” Burley asked.
“No he wasn’t.”
The Sky News presenter continued: “He promised you wouldn’t have to sell your house.”
Scully said: “He was boiling down a complicated message – as I say social care has not been solved for at least 10 years – to something people can appreciate, people can see where you’re coming from. Now the detail is there.”
The government says the current system means one in seven pay up to £100,000 or more for their social care.
With the new system capped at £86,000, the Tories have promised that is the maximum price someone would pay in their whole lifetime for care.