At Prime Minister’s Questions, Boris Johnson faced questions from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and accusations of “broken promises”.
Their exchanges were dominated by the issue of social care – and how people will pay for it under the government’s new plan – but there were also claims about high-speed rail, hospitals and employment.
We’ve had a look at some of them.
Keir Starmer: ‘At the last election, the prime minister promised that nobody would have to sell their homes to pay for care – that’s another broken promise, isn’t it?’
The Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto said: “Nobody needing care should be forced to sell their home to pay for it.”
Mr Johnson denied this promise had been broken.
But his social-care plan for England does not guarantee someone’s home will not have to be sold to pay for their care – only that this does not have to happen in their lifetime.
He pointed to the “housing disregard” – if people receive social care at home, or are in a care home and their spouse is living in their home, the value of their home is not counted towards their assets when working out how much they should pay towards their care.
Mr Johnson also pointed out those in a care home without a spouse living in their home could access deferrals to paying care costs so they would not have to sell their home straight away.
On Monday, Business Minister Paul Scully told Sky News: “There will be fewer people selling their houses – and, hopefully, none.”
Keir Starmer: ‘Somebody with assets of about £100,000 will lose almost everything – yet somebody with assets of about £1m will keep almost everything’
The government wants to introduce an £86,000 cap on personal-care costs – people will have to pay up to this limit but no more, during their lifetime.
And Labour has been attacking this policy because £86,000 will clearly be a higher proportion of a poorer person’s assets than a richer one’s – that would be the case for any cap on individuals’ spending.
Labour’s 2019 manifesto also proposed a lifetime cap, saying: “We will ensure no-one ever again needs to face catastrophic care costs of more than £100,000 for the care they need in old age.”
Boris Johnson: ‘There are now more people in work than there were before the pandemic’
The latest figures estimate there were 29,284,000 employees on payrolls in the UK in October, which is above pre-pandemic levels, as was the figure for September.
But unemployment figures, using a survey, estimate the overall number of people in employment from July to September was still about half a million below pre-pandemic levels.
Keir Starmer: ‘It’s another broken promise, just as he promised not to put up tax, just as he promised 40 new hospitals, just as he promised a rail revolution in the North’
The 2019 Conservative manifesto promised not to raise the rate of National Insurance.
And as we’ve pointed out before, this pledge has been broken – with NI rising by 1.25 percentage points, in April 2022.
The manifesto also said: “We will build and fund 40 new hospitals over the next 10 years.”
But the Department of Health and Social Care has a broad definition of “new hospital”, which can mean:
- a whole new hospital on a new site or current NHS land
- a major new clinical building on an existing site
- a new wing of an existing hospital
- a major refurbishment and alteration
And most of the 40 projects listed on the government’s website involve building new wings or refurbishing existing wings on the site of an existing hospital.
Only two involve building an entirely new general hospital, the Nuffield Trust says.
And both of these started before the last election and are planned to replace old hospitals.
We’ve also looked previously at whether the government broke its promises on high-speed rail.
Mr Johnson: ‘The right honourable gentleman [Sir Keir] campaigned against HS2’
HS2 will run to Euston station, in Sir Keir’s Holborn and St Pancras constituency.
And in 2015, in his election-victory speech, he said we “need to make sure HS2 doesn’t come into Euston in our constituency”.
Shortly after that, Sir Keir published a tweet of he and his neighbouring MP Tulip Siddiq handing in a petition against HS2 .
In March 2016, he voted against the construction of the link from London to Birmingham.
The following month, on his Facebook page, he said: “Fighting HS2 is still a major priority.”
And in February 2017, in Parliament, he said: “The construction of HS2 will have a devastating impact on thousands of my constituents.”
After PMQs on Wednesday, a Labour official said: “Keir’s position was Old Oak Common[, in west London,] should have been the terminal – but once HS2 was agreed, he and the Labour manifesto backed it.”
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