Welsh assembly free personal care u-turn

    New Welsh health and social services minister Brian Gibbons has
    ditched the assembly’s policy of pressing for the unilateral
    adoption of free personal care for older people in Wales.

    The assembly’s policy came out of the coalition administration. But
    with Labour now ruling alone Gibbons made clear the new
    administration’s dislike of the policy.

    Gibbons told an assembly debate: “We cannot ignore Scotland’s
    experience, which suggests it would cost anything from £150m
    to £180m to implement a similar scheme in Wales. I ask the
    Liberal Democrats what their priority would be if they were to
    spend that £180m.”

    He suggested that free transport for older people, improved waiting
    lists, and improving educational experience could all be priorities
    above long-term care. His own priority was free domiciliary care,
    “which is what 80 to 85 per cent of older people want”.

    Gibbons, a GP, was appointed to replace Jane Hutt last month.

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