A coalition of charities has urged peers to back government legislation to provide free personal care at home for people with high needs, when it enters the House of Lords next week.
Age Concern and Help the Aged, Carers UK, Counsel and Care and the Parkinson’s Disease Society have thrown their weight behind the Personal Care at Home Bill, which has its second reading in the House of Lords on Monday.
It has already cleared the House of Commons, but crossbench peers and Labour rebels are expected to join the opposition parties in the Lords in asking tough questions of the government.
The bill would provide free care at home to about 280,000 people in England – 166,000 of whom already receive free care – and reablement services to 130,000 people a year.
With the bill due to cost £670m a year – £420m from government and £250m from council efficiency savings – and 1.8m people receiving care in England, the government has been criticised for focusing its resources on a minority of users.
However, in a joint statement, the charities said: “Care charges for those with critical needs are often a crippling cost to families already struggling with the financial impacts of illness or disability. This bill would mark an historic end to means-testing and charging for some of the most vulnerable people in our society to provide for their most basic care needs.
“The older and disabled people, families and carers we represent have long called for an end to charging for care services – and they would not forget if this opportunity was missed to end unfair charges for those most in need. People want to know what care they will get and how much they will be asked to pay.”