Last reviewed 15 March 2022

The change to the social care cap that would have meant that contributions which councils pay towards people’s social care would not count towards the cap has been rejected by the House of Lords.

Peers in the House of Lords voted 198 to 158 on 7 March for an amendment to the Health and Care Bill, to ensure the amount councils pay towards care will actually count towards an individual’s £86,000 cap on care costs.

The proposal in the Health and Care Bill would cap the amount people have to pay over their lifetime for care fees at £86,000 from October 2023. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s last minute “clause 155” meant that any contributions councils pay towards people’s care would not count towards the cap.

According to a report by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and Health Foundation, as the Bill stood before, people with £110,000 in assets would have potentially lost 78% of their wealth to pay for care with the care cap, while those with assets worth half a million lost only 17%.

Age UK Charity Director Caroline Abrahams said: “This would have been an extraordinarily unfair and regressive outcome and the House of Lords quite rightly said ‘no’.”

Labour Party’s Baroness Wheeler told peers: “The short clause 155 we have before us on the Government’s proposals is a last-minute, hastily scraped together, ill-thought-through mishmash of subsections added to an essentially NHS Bill after its Commons Committee had finished, which was then bombarded through that House without any time for close scrutiny and debate.”

Charities like Alzheimer’s Society have welcomed the peers’ vote; an Alzheimer’s Society spokesperson said clause 155 “watered down” the Government’s plan for a cap on care costs by offering “less protection to people affected by dementia”.

This vote means the Prime Minister will either drop the plan or ask MPs to vote again in the House of Commons on the change to force it through.

Caroline Abrahams said: “We sincerely hope they choose not to try to reinstate this ill-conceived amendment in the House of Commons.”

Details of the amendments to the Bill are available here.