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Councils urged to back free personal care

March 29, 2019

Older people’s charity Independent Age has called on local councillors to support its call for the Government to introduce free personal care for over 65s – something that is available in Scotland, but not in England.

The charity says introducing free personal care would be very popular, with a recent YouGov poll finding that 74% of adults in England aged 18-64 want free personal care for all older people, and 69% would be willing to contribute more to fund it.

There is also, according to the charity, growing parliamentary support for free personal care. A recent ComRes poll for Independent Age, which surveyed 116 MPs in England, found that three quarters of them (74%) agreed that free personal care, paid for through a social care contribution, should be provided to all older people needing it. This reinforces the recommendations of the influential Health and Social Care and Housing, Communities and Local Government select committees’ joint report setting out the case for free personal care to be introduced, paid through a social care contribution.

With more than two years having passed since the Government announced it would produce a green paper on adult social care, Independent Age has written to council leaders across England, calling on them, their fellow councillors and prospective council candidates, to join the growing support for the introduction of a free personal care guarantee for older people as part of the social care reforms.

“The introduction of free personal care is affordable and would lead to a fairer system for older people and address many of the social care challenges with which local government is struggling,” said the charity’s director of policy and influencing George McNamara.

“Free personal care will increase accessibility to the support that older people want and need. It can be delivered at a similar cost to the Government’s poorly targeted, high cost, cap on care costs, which will only benefit around 20,000 older people.

“The growing support for free personal care by the public, health and care leaders and parliamentarians shows how this policy could deliver the transformation in social care that is desperately needed.”

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