Lead councillors from over half of England’s local authorities today condemned the government’s free personal care plans in an open letter to The Times that dubbed the proposals ‘unclear and unfunded’.
They called for an independent review of the plans in the Personal Care at Home Bill before the government proceeded any further. The bill has cleared the House of Commons and will have its committee stage in the Lords on 22 February, where the legislation will be scrutinised in detail.
The letter was signed by councillors from 77 English authorities. With one exception, they all have direct responsibility for adult social care and they represent all three political parties and every region of the country.
It comes days after prime minister Gordon Brown championed the plan to introduce free personal care at home for people with high needs, in a key pre-election speech.
The letter said there were “major doubts” over how the plan would be funded, citing an Association of Directors of Adult Social Services survey which put the cost to councils at £580m, over half the £250m estimated by the government.