Blog: After Prime Minister’s ‘shambolic’ speech to businesses, No10 sources voice ‘concern’… – Daily Mail

A bruising day for Boris: Prime Minister only narrowly gets his social care reforms through the Commons after Tory rebellion – after a ‘shambolic’ speech to businesses, No10 sources voicing their ‘concern’ and Brexit chief weighing in on tax cuts

  • Boris Johnson raised eyebrows by referring to children’s cartoon Peppa Pig
  • A ‘senior Downing Street source’ claimed the speech was ‘shambolic’
  • Tory rebellion against PM’s social care reforms saw his majority slashed to 26 
  • Now the pressure is on the PM to cut taxes to round off a bruising day 

By Harriet Line and Jason Groves for the Daily Mail and Lauren Lewis For Mailonline

Published: | Updated:

A senior Cabinet minister last night ramped up pressure on Boris Johnson to cut taxes, rounding off a bruising day for the Prime Minister.

In a rare public intervention on domestic policy, former Brexit negotiator Lord Frost said low taxes were ‘the formula for success as a country’.

He also said the UK must move away from EU rules so Britain can ‘step up and compete at a global level’.

After ‘shambolic’ speech to businesses, No10 sources voice ‘concern’ – then Brexit chief weighs in on tax cuts

It came as the Commons narrowly voted through the Government’s planned changes to social care with a majority of just 26 after a sizeable rebellion by Tory backbenchers. 

Senior Conservative MPs warned they would not back the new policy to cap care costs in England, which critics argued had been watered down to be less generous.

Ministers were unable to say whether the change to the £86,000 cap on care costs would fulfil an election pledge to guarantee no-one would have to sell their home to pay for care.

Conservative critics joined experts and Labour MPs in warning the move to count only individual payments towards the cap, and not local authority contributions, would cost poorer recipients more in assets than the wealthy.

But the Government worked to see off a potential defeat in the Commons on Monday evening and MPs backed the amendment 272 votes to 246, majority 26. 

The Prime Minister’s working majority of around 80 MPs was slashed. 

Earlier Mr Johnson was forced to apologise to the CBI for losing his thread for more than 20 seconds during a speech to the business lobby group’s annual conference.

He also raised eyebrows by making repeated references to the children’s cartoon character Peppa Pig.

Mr Johnson had been attempting to mend fences with big business during his CBI speech, following clashes over Brexit.

The BBC last night quoted a ‘senior Downing Street source’ that claimed the speech was ‘shambolic’ and that there was ‘a lot of concern inside the building’ about the Prime Minister.

The source added: ‘It’s just not working. Cabinet needs to wake up and demand serious changes otherwise it’ll keep getting worse. If they don’t insist, he just won’t do anything about it.’ 

No 10 declined to comment on the claim. But a Government insider dismissed the charge as ‘total nonsense’, adding: ‘That is absolutely not the feeling in the building – it couldn’t be more wrong.’

In a rare public intervention on domestic policy, former Brexit negotiator Lord Frost, pictured said low taxes were ‘the formula for success as a country’

Tory MP Peter Bone also rallied round, saying: ‘The idea that the Government is falling apart because the PM’s speech got a bit mixed up is clearly ridiculous. The BBC should focus on the issues.’

A source told the Daily Mail that the Prime Minister’s long pause, in which he shuffled through the pages of his address, had occurred because he had been accidentally handed a copy of the speech in the wrong order.

But pressure later ramped up even further on Mr Johnson as his close ally Cabinet Office minister Lord Frost gave a speech to the Centre for Policy Studies.

At last month’s Budget, the Prime Minister had overruled Chancellor Rishi Sunak, insisting public spending should be raised despite the poor state of the public finances.

At the time, the Chancellor set out an ambition to cut taxes by the next election.

And last night Lord Frost told the centre-Right think-tank: ‘We know what the formula for success as a country is: it’s low taxes. I agree with the Chancellor as he said in his Budget speech – our goal must be to reduce taxes.

It’s about light-touch and proportionate regulation, whatever the policy objectives you’re trying to pursue. And of course free trade.

‘Increasing consumer choice while reducing consumer costs. Ensuring competition stops complacency – keeping our economy fit and responsive to innovation and progress abroad.’

Boris Johnson was seen enjoying a day at Peppa Pig World theme park with his one-year-old son

Lord Frost also spoke of the importance of the UK forging its own path post-Brexit. He said: ‘We haven’t successfully rolled back the frontiers of the EU with Brexit, only to import the European model after all this time.

‘So we need to reform fast and those reforms are going to involve doing things differently from the EU. If we stick to EU models, but behind our own tariff wall and with a smaller market, obviously we are not going to succeed.’

Mr Johnson had told the CBI conference: ‘I have never been anything other than business’s number one fan… the true driver of growth is not Government, it is the energy and dynamism and originality of the private sector.’

He said it was time for Government to ‘get out of your hair’, adding that ministers should ‘make sure there is less regulation and indeed less taxation’.

He then hailed the global success of Peppa Pig, telling business leaders the children’s cartoon was a great example of British creativity.

Delegates were left bemused as the Prime Minister asked them to raise their hands if they had visited Peppa Pig World, in the New Forest.

Peppa Pig World is in Paultons Park located in Romsey, Hampshire

Mr Johnson told the audience of business leaders in Newcastle he had visited the attraction with his wife Carrie and son Wilfred on Sunday, hailing it as ‘my kind of place’.

‘It has safe streets, discipline in schools, a heavy emphasis on new mass transit systems,’ he said. ‘Even if they are a bit stereotypical about Daddy Pig.’ 

The PM said the hit show, which has been a huge export, showed ‘the power of UK creativity’ and entrepreneurship.

Mr Johnson’s former adviser Guto Harri said the references were an effective way of making a point about the value of the creative industries, adding: ‘It was classic Boris.’

Asked by ITV after the speech if ‘everything was OK’, the Prime Minister said: ‘I think that people got the vast majority of the points that I wanted to make and I thought it went over well.’ 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gets his social care reforms through the Commons after Tory rebellion  

Boris Johnson narrowly succeeded in getting MPs to back his new policy to cap care costs in England on Monday evening after a significant number of Tory members rebelled.  

The Prime Minister saw his Commons majority slashed as 19 Tory MPs including former Cabinet minister Esther McVey and ex-chief whip Mark Harper rebelled to oppose the plans.

Senior Conservative William Wragg and NHS doctor Dan Poulter were also among the Tories to vote against the change, as were Christian Wakeford and Mark Jenkinson, two MPs who seized former Labour strongholds in the north for the Tories.

The other rebels were Holly Mumby-Croft, Chris Green, Damien Moore, Peter Aldous, John Baron, Philip Davies, Kevin Hollinrake, Philip Hollobone, Andrew Lewer, Julian Lewis, Jason McCartney, Mike Penning and Andrew Percy. 

Meanwhile, 68 Tories did not vote for or against the plans, either because they abstained or could not vote.   

The Prime Minister saw his Commons majority slashed as 18 Tory MPs including former Cabinet minister Esther McVey and ex-chief whip Mark Harper rebelled to oppose the plans

Senior Conservative William Wragg and NHS doctor Dan Poulter were also among the Tories to vote against the change

The Government worked to see off a potential defeat in the Commons on Monday evening and MPs backed the amendment 272 votes to 246, majority 26. 

The rebellion came amid anger over how it will hit poorer pensioners as ministers were unable to say whether the change to the £86,000 cap on care costs would fulfil an election pledge to guarantee no-one would have to sell their home to pay for care.

And backbench Tory critics joined experts and Labour MPs in warning the move to count only individual payments towards the cap, and not local authority contributions, would cost poorer recipients more in assets than the wealthy.

Meanwhile senior Tories declined to back the reforms amid criticism the plans were being watered down.  

Mr Johnson had defended the plans as ‘incredibly generous’ and ‘much better than the existing system’ during a speech at the annual CBI conference earlier in the day.

In September, the Government announced that a £86,000 cap on lifetime care costs will be put into place from October 2023.

However, a policy paper last week showed that only personal contributions will count towards that cap for people who receive financial support from a local authority for some of their care.

Experts said that means poorer individuals will reach the cap faster than those who are wealthier and will therefore see more of their assets eaten up by care costs.

The Resolution Foundation think tank warned that people in the North and in Yorkshire are most at risk from having their ‘wealth wiped out by care costs’, and said the changes approved on Monday would make the reforms worse.

Amid lingering anger on the Tory backbenchers over the handling of the Owen Paterson sleaze row, former chief whip Mark Harper said he would be among those opposing the amendment.

He warned it ‘potentially disadvantages the less well-off and those of working age with life-long conditions’.

Amid lingering anger on the Tory backbenchers over the handling of the Owen Paterson sleaze row, former chief whip Mark Harper said he would be among those opposing the amendment

Former justice secretary Robert Buckland urged ministers to ‘look again’ at the issue, and Bury South MP Mr Wakeford said he was uncomfortable with the change ‘to move the goalposts’.

‘Especially when one of the main messages for introducing this levy was ‘You won’t need to sell your house for care’, to get to a point where unfortunately you might need to and (it’s) arguably our least well-off in society, our least well-off voters – again, it’s not something I’m particularly comfortable with,’ he told Times Radio.

Labour’s analysis suggested the changes mean the average homeowner in two-thirds of northern areas will have to pay more towards their care, while a third in the Midlands will be worse off.

The Conservative Party manifesto for the 2019 general election said social care reforms must ‘guarantee that no-one needing care has to sell their home to pay for it’.

But the Prime Minister’s official spokesman was unable to say whether people may still have to sell their homes to pay for care, arguing: ‘I can’t predict individual situations.’

Sally Warren, the policy director at the King’s Fund health think tank, criticised the change that was ‘sprung upon MPs with very little notice and with no impact assessment made available’.

‘The change to the social care cap is a regressive step that will leave people with low levels of wealth still exposed to very high care costs,’ she said.

‘It is likely to mean that some people with moderate assets living in poorer areas will still be forced to sell their home to pay for their care, while wealthier people from richer parts of the country will be protected from this.’

Shadow social care minister Liz Kendall accused the Tories of having broken their electoral promise.

‘Instead they voted to tax ordinary working people, while the wealthiest in our country are unaffected,’ the Labour MP said.

‘Once again Boris Johnson’s failures translate into working people paying the price.’

Under the plans, people with assets of less than £20,000 will not have to contribute anything to their care – up from the current level of £14,250 – while those with assets worth up to £100,000 will be eligible to receive some local authority support, up from £23,250.

MPs have another opportunity to debate the amended Health and Care Bill on Tuesday before it is expected to receive extended scrutiny in the House of Lords.

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After Prime Minister’s ‘shambolic’ speech to businesses, No10 sources voice ‘concern’…

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