David Drew MP backs call for free personal care for older people
David Drew MP attended a drop-in event at Parliament on Wednesday, April 24 to discuss the social care crisis with members of public, and learn about the ground-breaking evidence from the older people’s charity Independent Age on the benefits of introducing free personal care in England.
Free personal care is already available in Scotland. Introducing free personal care in England would be extremely popular. A recent YouGov poll found 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.
David Drew said:
“I was delighted to have the opportunity to discuss the social care system with older people and hear their stories, and ideas on how it can be improved.
“I was also impressed by the evidence presented by Independent Age on the economic and personal benefits of introducing free personal care. Average care costs in the South West region are £582 a week, and there are 22,649 people over 65 in Stroud.
“Independent Age has made a powerful case on how free personal care could benefit my constituents, and ensure that some of the most vulnerable people don’t have to worry about the financial costs of their care in the future. This policy must be considered as part of the government’s consultation on adult social care.”
George McNamara, Director of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age, said:
“Many older people in Stroud are worried about how to fund their future care. Our social care system needs urgent reform.
Having a local champion in Parliament will help to ensure that this important issue is high on the political agenda.”
Labour has recognised that the social care sector is in crisis, with severe consequences for the quality of care, public finances, personal assets, pressures on unpaid carers of family and friends, and delays to discharging patients from hospitals.
Care services have been slowly but relentlessly privatised. In recent years, one in ten people reaching the age of 65 has faced lifetime care costs of over £100,000, with some homeowners paying the entire value of their homes.
The Conservatives’ cuts have led to £4.6 billion lost from social care budgets, despite rising demand. Around 1.2 million older people have care needs that are going unmet. Care in the community has become a cover for unseen neglect.
In our first term, Labour will lay the foundations of a National Care Service for England.
The first urgent task will be to address the immediate funding crisis. Labour will increase the social care budgets by a further £8 billion over the lifetime of the next Parliament, including an additional £1 billion for the first year. This will be enough for providers to pay a real living wage without cutting the quality of care they provide. It will allow implementation of the principles of the Ethical Care Charter, already adopted in 28 council areas, ending 15-minute care visits and providing care workers with paid travel time, access to training and an option to choose regular hours.