The government will announce legislation to introduce free personal care at home for people in England with critical care needs in this Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech, it has been reported.
The policy would be introduced in October 2010 should Labour win the next election – due by June of next year – and cost £670m a year to implement. Of that, £420m will be provided by the Department of Health with the rest found from council efficiency savings.
The proposal has caused controversy for focusing only on domiciliary care, and not on all forms of social care; and for allegedly asking too much of councils financially and adding confusion to the government’s proposed green paper reforms.
The free care policy was announced by prime minister Gordon Brown two months after the green paper was published, and has been cited as a factor in the much criticised delay in the publication of the financial modelling underpinning the green paper.
The legislation and accompanying regulations are likely to set out how much free care people will be entitled to, eligibility for free care and the definition of ‘personal care’.
National newspaper coverage of Queen’s Speech