Welsh assembly votes for free personal care

The Welsh assembly has voted unanimously in favour of the
principle of free personal care for older people,
writes Alex Dobson.

There was all-party support for the move which if implemented
would cost Wales an estimated £67 million a year, but the
assembly does not have the power to put the measure into

The likelihood of government funding for the proposal is remote.
A source at the Wales office in Westminster said: “We do not think
this is a spending priority, and this decision in the assembly will
have no impact on government policy”.

The official line from a spokesperson was that the decision had
been taken by the assembly, and Welsh secretary Paul Murphy had
nothing to say on the matter.

The vote follows a report that was commissioned by the assembly-
‘When I’m 64’- which advocated following policies
similar to those adopted in Scotland, where older people are set to
benefit from free personal care.

The report makes more than 100 recommendations for improving
services for older people that include the appointment of a
commissioner to look after their interests.

Health and social services minister Jane Hutt will now write to
Murphy asking for support to persuade the government to fund the

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