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Live Reporting

Edited by James Clarke

All times stated are UK

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  1. Goodbye

    That is all from us on what's been a busy day with a lot announced by Boris Johnson and his government.

    If you want to read more detail on the new 1.25% health and social care tax to pay for reforms, here is our main story.

    The updates in this live page have been brought to you by George Bowden, Marie Jackson, Mary O'Connor, Emma Harrison, Francesca Gillett, Joseph Lee, Paul Seddon, Judith Burns, Johanna Howitt, Holly Wallis, Lauren Turner and James Clarke.

  2. What did we learn from the Downing Street briefing?

    Downing Street briefing
    Image caption: The PM and Chancellor were challenged about their election promises not to raise taxes

    With the Downing Street briefing over, we're wrapping up our live coverage shortly. Before we go, here's a quick look back at today's main story and what the PM, Chancellor and Health Secretary have had to say about the tax rise plans:

    • Boris Johnson said he wants to "level with people" that NHS waiting lists will get worse before they get better
    • A new tax will begin next April, initially as a 1.25% increase in National Insurance
    • From 2023, it will become a separate tax on earned income, with the Chancellor Rishi Sunak saying it will be legally ring-fenced for health and social care
    • The funding will mostly be used to tackle NHS backlogs from the pandemic at first, but from October 2023 it will pay for new caps on individual contributions to social care
    • The PM said around half the money from the new levy will come from the top 14% of earners
    • Sunak said the new tax reflected that support for social care costs was "a permanent new role for government"
    • Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the funding would allow the NHS to tackle a treatment backlog of 5.5 million people, carry out nine million checks, scans and treatments, and invest in a new generation of screening equipment
    • Challenged on his broken election promises not to raise taxes, the PM said the pandemic was an unexpected event and suggested he was delivering on another promise to tackle social care costs
    • Johnson said he did not want to raise taxes again in this Parliament, but said the decision was ultimately for the Chancellor in his Budgets.
  3. 'How is it sustainable to pay £5,000 a month?'

    While today's announcement have been being made, we've been speaking to people about what they think should change.

    Jeanie Chalmers’s grandmother has been living in a care home since February, after she fell ill with Covid.

    Her grandmother’s savings meant she did not qualify for support in paying for social care and the monthly fees are about £5,000. They have sold her home to pay the costs so far.

    Jeanie, 44, says the system urgently needs addressing as the costs are unsustainable.

    She supports the idea that the amount someone pays for care over their lifetime should be capped - but suggests the cap should be about £35,000 as suggested in a review 10 years ago.

    The government has announced today that there will be a cap of £86,000.

    Jeanie says: "If she was aware of how much [her social care] cost her, she would be horrified.

    "The costs are around £5,000 a month. How is this sustainable? She could live another 10 years.

    "We are happy to pay the food and accommodation costs of course, but it’s the care side that needs paying by the government.

    "I’m hopeful that something positive comes out of the announcement today.

    "For us, it’s so much on our mind at the moment. Everything seems to be stacked against us which is why I’m so glad they’re reviewing things to do.”

  4. What is the triple lock and why has it been scrapped for a year?

    Two pensioners working out their pensions

    We've heard a bit about the "triple lock" today - which refers to three different guarantees on pensions and decides how much the state pension rises by each year.

    Currently, the state pension is supposed to increase each year in line with whichever of the following three things is highest:

    • inflation, as measured by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI)
    • the average wage increase
    • or 2.5%

    That's what we call the government's "triple lock" promise. At the last election, the Conservatives promised to keep it for the duration of this parliament.

    But today the government has said it is suspending the triple lock for one year from 2022-23.

    Instead, the state pension will be determined by just two of the "locks" in the triple lock - the inflation rate or 2.5%.

    The average wage increase won't be included. That's because there's been a large rise in average earnings over the past year (8%) because of people returning to work after lockdown.

    It is an unusual and unique situation as well as an awkward dilemma for a government which is trying not only to pay back debts built up over the pandemic, but also to find money for its social care plan.

    Read more here.

  5. Local authorities groups react to new social care funding plan

    care home

    Most social care services are delivered by independent home care and residential care providers, but local authorities are responsible for assessing people’s care needs, and provide funding if they are eligible.

    Chairman of the Local Government Association, Councillor James Jamieson, says the Covid pandemic has brought the challenges facing adult social care "into sharp relief".

    He says protecting people from having to sell their home to pay for care is an "important first step" but he says it is "not enough to give the nation the social care system it wants and needs".

    He says greater information is needed on "what proportion of the new levy will come to social care, including when and how the funding will be distributed".

    Since 2015 councils have been able to add an additional charge to council tax bills through the "adult social care precept".

    The County Councils Network has welcomed the government's plans to reform adult social care with a national tax.

    Its spokesman for adult social care, Councillor Martin Tett, says: "Private fee payers in effect prop up local care markets by paying significantly more than local authorities, who have not been in a position to raise fees owing to financial pressures.

    "This has led to a care market fee gap of £670m in England’s counties alone.

    "In order to make private and council fees fairer, significant investment will be needed – possibly more than currently committed.

    "Councils want to work with government to understand the implications on this commitment and ensure that it does not further destabilise local care markets."

  6. 'Almost all my money has gone on care home fees'

    June Clay, second right, Christmas 2019, almost all her money has gone on care home fees
    Image caption: June Clay, second right, with her daughter Sharon sitting on the floor in front

    June Clay, 92, from Hornchurch, had to go into a nursing home four years ago.

    Now her children, in their 60s, are considering re-mortgaging their own homes and using their pension savings to pay for her care.

    Mrs Clay had already eaten into savings to "age-proof" her former council house, with a stair-lift, wet-room and easy-access kitchen.

    But within weeks of it being completed, June had a fall, went to hospital and "never came home", daughter Sharon, 65, remembers.

    At her nursing home it takes two staff using a hoist to help her use the toilet and bathe.

    As a property owner, June had to "self-fund", so sold her house to afford fees which over four years have risen to nearly £1,200 a week.

    The capital is almost gone, the local authority will help but only up to £640 a week while the cheapest homes locally charge £900 and daughter Sharon worries about their quality.

    "Some shouldn't even be nursing homes. I wouldn't even put a dog in one," she says. "I made a promise to my mum, that she would stay in that home... I'm worried sick about it."

    Sharon fears the government's reforms will be just "smoke and mirrors". "The money's got to be there for the basic care.

    "So Boris needs to listen to people on the ground that are living this nightmare to know that social services do not pay anywhere near what basic social care costs."

  7. At-a-glance: Social care changes

    Two people

    The government is promising an overhaul of the way social care is funded in England. So what's going to happen and how will it be paid for?

    Firstly, what is being proposed?

    • People will no longer pay any more than £86,000 in care costs - that is, for actual care, rather than accommodation - over their lifetime
    • Those with less than £20,000 in assets will have their care fully paid for
    • There will be help for people owning between £20,000 and £100,000 in assets
    • The amount of help given will be based on a means test, with the details of how this will work to be announced at a later date

    Read more here

  8. What’s the new tax and how will it affect me?

    A young carer showing an elderly man something on an electronic tablet

    If you're just joining us, the big announcement today is that a new health and social care tax is being introduced.

    The idea is that it will help the NHS recover from the Covid pandemic and improve social care in England.

    But there has been criticism - including from within the Conservative Party - that it will be unfair on younger people.

    The new tax will begin in April next year.

    At first this will be as an increase in National Insurance by 1.25 percentage points, paid for by employees and the self-employed.

    Then, from April 2023, National Insurance will return to current rates and a new separate health and social care tax will be introduced. This will be 1.25% of incomes - making up for the change to National Insurance.

    And this tax - unlike the rise in National Insurance - will be paid by pensioners who work.

    Read more here.

  9. This year's tax increases highest for decades

    Today’s announced tax increases – combined with those announced in the Budget earlier this year – total the highest tax rises in more than 40 years.

    If delivered the increases would raise the tax burden in the UK to its highest-ever sustained level.

  10. Analysis

    Most people won’t be affected by the cap

    Robert Cuffe

    BBC head of statistics

    Take the example of someone with £250,000 in property and savings who starts to need care and moves into in a care home to get it.

    With these assets, they’ll start off paying all of their care costs as well as for their bed and board, at least initially.


    After just over three years, the government estimates they’ll have spent £86,000 on care and the cap will kick in.

    They will still have to pay for bed and board from their pension and savings, but won’t have to pay for care anymore.

    The savings on care do mount up, to more than £100,000 over the following five years, according to the government figures.

    But for the first three and a quarter years, it wouldn’t make any difference.

    And many people living in residential care, sadly, don’t live for three years, let alone eight.

  11. Boris Johnson has his 'low tax Tory' brand questioned

    Ione Wells

    Westminster Correspondent, BBC News

    Boris Johnson did not want to be a tax-raising prime minister.

    While his script around breaking the manifesto commitment was well-rehearsed, the PM looked visibly uncomfortable when asked whether he personally was still a "low tax Tory" or not.

    It was the brand he ran on in the 2019 election - promising to be a PM that would "put money back in pockets".

    While stressing he certainly didn't want any more tax rises he stumbled when trying to answer what these decisions now meant for him.

    And notably he deflected his answers to Rishi Sunak saying these were the decisions "the Chancellor must make in his budgets".

  12. How much money will be spent on social care?

    There are several questions about how much of the money will be spent on social care rather than clearing the NHS Covid backlog.

    Boris Johnson says the "priority right now" is fixing the backlog - but the amount of the tax that goes to social care will increase over time.

    Asked how quickly the amount going to social care will increase, Sajid Javid says the government has set out the amount that will go on social care in the next three years (earlier, he confirmed this would be £5.4bn out of the £36bn raised by the tax hikes).

    He says, however, he can't say "exactly" how much will go on social care after that, because they can't say for certain how long it will take to clear the backlog.

  13. I want to achieve cross-party consensus on social care - PM

    Arj Singh from the i challenges the PM on another one of the Tory party's manifesto commitments - the pledge to seek a cross-party consensus on social care reform - and asks why this has not been done and whether or not Johnson is concerned the crisis facing the sector may not be resolved as a result.

    Johnson insists he wants to achieve a cross-party consensus where possible but says there was a cross-party agreement on the committee on social care that there should be a levy paid for out of taxation.

    He says this was a similar proposal to what had been brought forward by government today.

    "I do hope that colleagues across the house will see that what we are doing is the right and the progressive thing to do... and I hope that people will support it in the House of Commons," he adds.

  14. Are you robbing pensioners of £7 a week? PM is asked

    Macer Hall from the Daily Express returns to the issue of the pensions triple lock decision, where the government is pausing the requirement to increase pensions by whichever is largest of inflation, average wage rises or 2.5%.

    He asks whether, as well as breaking the election promise, the PM is not missing a "historic opportunity" to raise the UK's pension rate - which is low compared to other European countries.

    Hall adds, isn't the PM "effectively robbing pensioners of £7 a week"?

    Johnson says "we will always stand up for pensioners" but says this year's decision was due to a "statistical freak".

    He says the pandemic caused average wages to slump and then suddenly surge upwards, which would have a "weird effect on pensions".

    They will still get a 2.5% rise and he says he hopes people can "see that's fair".

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak says independent commentators have called the pandemic's effect on wages "artificial" and an "anomaly".

    He says they have protected pensioners in the past and will continue to protect them with the triple lock in future.

  15. I don't want more tax rises before next election, says PM

    Next up is Ben Riley-Smith from the Telegraph, who also asks the prime minister whether the Tories are still a low-tax party, and if he can guarantee no further tax rises before the next election.

    "I certainly don't want any more tax rises this Parliament," he replies.

    However, he says despite this "emotional commitment" not to further raise taxes, this is a matter for the chancellor in his Budgets.

    Asked whether he can guarantee no-one will have to sell their home to pay for care, Sajid Javid says the changes will give people "complete confidence" of the total amount they will have to spend on care.

    He adds this will enable people to "plan much better for their future".

  16. Are the Tories losing the reputation as a party of low taxes?

    The next press question comes from Beth Rigby of Sky News.

    She challenges the PM on previous occasions when she says he broke manifesto pledges, asking whether he considered the implications of his latest manifesto breach in the new tax to fund England's social care plan.

    She asks Rishi Sunak whether he is comfortable with the Conservatives losing their reputation as a party of low taxes, and whether he would commit to not raising taxes again during this parliament.

    Boris Johnson insists nobody wants to raise taxes but the reality is nobody foresaw the pandemic and the difficult financial impact of that.

    He argues the public will want "honesty, fairness and rationality" about the situation and ensuring the burden to fix health and social care isn't left for future generations to deal with.

    The chancellor says hopefully people will recognise the country faces "extraordinary circumstances" and that the UK borrowed more last year than any time since World War Two.

  17. PM challenged over three broken election promises

    ITV's Anushka Asthana says Johnson has not only broken his promise not to raise national insurance or income tax, but also a commitment that no-one will lose their home.

    The £80,000 costs cap is unlikely to prevent that, she suggests.

    And she adds the suspension of the triple lock on pensions is another manifesto commitment from 2019 that has been broken today.

    The PM repeats that the Covid-19 pandemic was not in the manifesto either and says the government is addressing "for the first time in decades" the problems in social care that cause delays for the NHS.

    "If people look at our manifesto they will also see we pledged to fix social care," he adds, as well as noting the Tory party pledge to be "fiscally responsible".

  18. How are ministers justifying the tax rise?

    Ione Wells

    Westminster Correspondent, BBC News

    After days of leaks and briefings about tax rise plans, which even some ministers were in the dark about, ministers' new strategy is to be very upfront.

    The UK government's most senior ministers today all stressed they will break a manifesto commitment.

    But they claim it's necessary to fund the NHS's recovery from the pandemic and England's social care reforms.

    Wrapping up social care reforms with cash for the NHS catch-up may make it harder for critics of the tax rise to vote against it.

    It's not hard to imagine how the prime minister could try to accuse the opposition in Parliament in future PMQs of voting against NHS catch-up funding if they oppose the rise.

    Labour have called the plan a "sticking plaster" that will target young people, supermarket workers and nurses, rather than those who can afford to pay more - when most of the funding will be raised through the rate of national insurance contributions increasing.

    But Labour are also likely to face questions about what funding model they would provide as an alternative.

  19. Johnson defends 'progressive' tax hike

    Today is the first time in a long time that journalists have been in a Downing Street briefing in person, rather than on video screens. And the first question at today's briefing goes to the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg, who asks the PM whether the tax hike is fair and why property has been excluded.

    Boris Johnson says the tax increases are "progressive" and "broad-based" - and repeats that half of the money will come from the top 14% of earners. He says everybody in society faces the risk of high care costs.

    Asked whether the Conservatives are still the party of low taxation, the chancellor says there is no "easy or perfect" way to raise money. He says the government's plan is the "best way to do it".

    Health Secretary Sajid Javid is posed a question too - he is asked how much of the new money will be put towards social care as opposed to the NHS.

    Javid replies that at least £5.4bn from the £36bn raised over three years will go on social care. He says most will be initially spent on the NHS, but more will be spent on social care over time.

  20. Today is an important moment for the NHS - Javid

    Sajid Javid

    Health Secretary Sajid Javid says it is an "important moment" for the NHS, which, during the pandemic, has treated more than half a million patients and administered coronavirus vaccines 90 million times.

    He says the pandemic has "taken its toll" on the health service, and in addition to the further £5.4bn announced to help the NHS over the next six months announced yesterday, the government must invest in health and social care for the long term.

    He turns to the record high waiting times - with a treatment backlog of 5.5 million people and the potential for that to rise even higher.

    Javid adds the majority of new funds will initially go into the health service to help carry out the biggest catch-up programme in history - with plans such as carrying out nine million checks, scans and treatments and investing in the next generation of screening equipment.

    Reiterating the measures unveiled by the PM earlier, Javid says the government wants to "end the lottery" of how people pay for social care.

    "We're making these historic investments in health and social care together," he says - adding the challenges won't be left for future governments to grapple with.