Labour promised today in a report by the BBC, Labour pledges free personal care for over-65s in England to provide free personal care for the over 65’s.
As with many of these pledges from all the political party’s information on the source of the funding was lacking in detail except that it would be raised from taxes.
Will this solve the social care crisis, and will current spending plans meet the needs of the over 65’s in England?
The latest Age UK report in 2017, ‘The Health and Care of Older People in England 2017′ highlighted that there was nearly 1.2 million over 65’s that don’t receive the care support they need for essential daily activities.
Will £6billion be enough with the growth in the older population, climbing life expectancy and many unpaid carers?
The Age UK report detailed the source of care in the older population shown below:
The report shows that 67.5% of older people needing support do not receive funded care at present so if these were entitled to free personal care what effect would this have on England’s social care spending?
If we take an average of 12 hours domiciliary care per week at £20 per hour this works out at £240 per week.
If Labour just funded the older sector that get no current help, the 30% which according to Age UK equates to 1.2 million over 65’s that would cost £15 billion.
Add to that the inevitable demand form the 37.5% of care currently supplied by family and friends who some would now expect the government to fund, the total cost could rise to £24billion if we assume half of this segment request funded care.
This is for a full year, but the £6 billion figure seems low compared to the unmet care and unpaid care currently provided and this excludes growth in the aging population.
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Whatever party is in power in 2020 the numbers for funding free personal care in the UK are challenging without raising one or more taxes significantly, something no newly elected political party wants to do.