Peers have strongly criticised plans to provide free care at home to elderly and vulnerable people, inflicting a series of defeats on the government.
As the Personal Care at Home Bill underwent report stage, Lord Best, a crossbench peer and President of the Local Government Association (LGA), spoke of the "anxieties" of councils across the country who are having to find annual costs of £250m during a time of economic turmoil.
The House backed his amendment, which would postpone the start date of free home care from 1 October this year to 1 April 2011, by 208 votes to 127, a majority of 81.
He denied his proposal was a wrecking amendment, claiming the measures in the bill would simply be implemented at a later date.
Peers also backed an amendment proposed by Labour backbencher Lord Lipsey by 201 votes to 134, a majority of 67.
Lord Lipsey said his proposal, which would require both Houses to vote on a piece of secondary legislation before the bill's proposals could come into force, was "a belt to go with Lord Best's braces".
"I can't recall in my lifetime an example of a piece of legislation that has so completely caused a British government to ignore the precepts of good government," he said.
The government suffered a third defeat as peers voted by 171 to 120, majority 51, in favour of Labour peer and former health minister Lord Warner's amendment to delay the implementation of the bill's provisions until ministers had commissioned an independent review into their affordability and laid the results before Parliament.
They also backed an amendment by Lib Dem peer Baroness Barker that would cause the powers in the bill to lapse after two years.
Junior Health Minister Baroness Thornton said: "We do not think it right to delay support to individuals because of local implementation issues. What we think is right is to tackle those issues."
She said the government had listened to the concerns expressed and would allow councils to "phase in the implementation" of free personal care between October 2010 and March 2011.