Free personal care bill published today

Legislation to introduce free personal care at home for people with critical needs will be published at 12.30pm today.

The government claims the Personal Care at Home Bill would guarantee free care for almost 280,000 older and disabled people, including 166,000 current recipients.

A further 130,000 people requiring care for the first time would receive approximately six weeks’ free support to regain independence under the plans.

However, a row is brewing over how the measures will be funded. The Department of Health has pledged to find £420m of the £670 annual cost. In an interview with The Times today, health secretary Andy Burnham said this would involve making cuts to research and development and public health promotion budgets, and NHS spending on management consultants.

This has sparked concerns that cuts will be made in areas including dementia research – despite government pledges to prioritise this area and longstanding concerns that dementia research is underfunded.

There are already concerns among local authorities that they will struggle to produce the £250m in annual efficiency savings they would be required to find to implement the bill.

Community Care will be providing full coverage on the bill later today.

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