06 November 2019
Labour’s National Care Service pledge – what could it mean for those in need of care?
The Labour Party has promised to introduce free personal care for older people so they can live independently in their own homes.
Personal care is defined by the Department for Work and Pensions as attention required in connection with bodily functions, including dressing, washing, bathing or shaving, toileting, getting in and out of bed, eating, drinking, taking medication, communicating.
Currently, people who receive care at home or in a residential care setting are financially assessed to see how much they should be contributing towards the cost of their own care. If someone has savings and property valued at in excess of £23,250, then they are expected to pay the full cost of the care they receive.
According to the shadow chancellor John McDonnell, the proposed Labour policy would be funded by general taxation. Those receiving care at home would face no costs, while those in residential care would bear only the cost of board and lodging.
The policy would bring England into line with Scotland, where personal care is free for those with the most severe needs. Wales and Northern Ireland also each provide some level of universal entitlement. In Wales the cost of home care is capped, while in Northern Ireland the over-75s get it for free.
Access to this free personal care will still be assessed using eligibility criteria, the details of which are yet to be confirmed. The impact the policy has will depend on the threshold that is set for accessing it. Even in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland the bar for getting help is set very high. Only those with the most severe needs get it.
We expect more details on this pledge in due course but in the meantime if you require any further information or advice contact Natalie Boorer, our wills, trust and probate senior associate on: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01753 279032.