The Labour Party has confirmed plans to introduce free personal care and a National Care Service if it wins the December 12 General Election.
As previously reported, the party has pledged to ensure that older people have their personal care needs met, with the ambition to extend this provision to all working-age adults.
Labour said in its manifesto, described by leader Jeremy Corbyn as “the most radical, people-focused plan in modern times”, that this will enable it to more than double the number of people receiving publicly funded care packages, improve the standard of care provided to them and remove the distinction between health and care needs.
“We will ensure no one ever again needs to face catastrophic care costs of more than £100,000 for the care they need in old age, which we will underscore with a lifetime cap on personal contributions to care costs,” the manifesto states.
Labour has also promised to invest in additional care packages to “reverse the damage done by Conservative cuts” and provide support to both older people and working-age adults living independently in their own homes.
The party said this will mean it can support autistic people and people living with a learning disability to move out from inappropriate inpatient hospital settings and provide support in their own homes.
Its £6bn National Care Service will work in partnership with the NHS, the party said, ensuring care is delivered “for people, not for profit”.
Labour added that contracts for providing care will not be awarded to organisations that “do not pay their fair share of taxes” and do not meet “our high standards of quality care”.
“Our focus will be on the ethical delivery of care that ensures growing public sector provision and providers who meet standards of transparency, compliance and profit capping,” the manifesto states.
The party added that it will invest to end 15-minute care visits and provide care workers with paid travel time, access to training and the option to choose regular hours.
It has also promised to develop a planned model of joined-up community care, enabling people to live longer lives in better health in their own homes.
Steven Cameron, pensions Director at Aegon said: “Social care funding, one of our society’s greatest challenges, should rightly be at the heart of all party manifestos. Labour’s manifesto commitment to free personal care across England will be welcomed by many, and needs to be put on a stable financial footing as increased life expectancies coupled with the rising costs of providing care mean this is an issue that will just keep getting bigger.
“Labour’s commitment to a lifetime cap on how much any individual will need to pay towards care costs is very welcome. It should bring to an end the prospect of those requiring longer periods of care facing catastrophic care costs and once details are developed will allow people to plan ahead and protect inheritance aspirations.”
Michael Voges, Executive Director of ARCO, added: “We are encouraged that Labour have included a number of commitments to improve social care and ensure that more older people can remain in their own homes. We are also pleased to see commitments on leasehold reform.
“Crucial to achieving real change in this area is the growth of a world class system of housing with care on the Retirement Community model.”
“We would encourage all parties to be ambitious in their commitments to supporting the housing with care revolution which providers are poised and ready to deliver over the coming decade.”